Hearing to be held on fee increases

May 25, 1994|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Sun Staff Writer

Taxpayers can voice their thoughts on proposed increases in the fees charged for collecting garbage and for water and sewer service tonight at a public hearing in Annapolis.

Anne Arundel County Executive Robert R. Neall is proposing a 3.5 percent increase in the utility rate, which means the average water and sewer user will pay $14.24 more each year, about $1.18 a month.

The increase will pay for the higher cost of operations, county officials said in budget documents.

The 1995 fiscal year budget for the utility operating fund will increase to $58.4 million, an increase of 11.4 percent or $5.9 million.

Solid waste fees are going up to meet the increasing costs of collection and regulatory and environmental requirements. The solid waste fund budget will increase by 14.7 percent, or $4.3 million, to a total of $34 million.

Each county homeowner will pay $158 each year for garbage collection, $28 more than last year.

The commercial tipping fee at the Millersville landfill will go from $55 a ton to $60 a ton.

The City of Annapolis will receive a steep increase in what it is charged to dump trash in the county landfill. The fee will go from $7.83 to $19.35 a ton.

Solid waste fees are expected to rise annually for the foreseeable future to pay for dramatically increased costs of garbage disposal. Those costs include the expense of designing and building the last cell of the county-owned Millersville landfill, as well as the cost of closing the Sudley landfill.

The county will continue its twice-weekly garbage collection, as well as its weekly collection of recyclables.

In addition, the county will start collecting yard waste on a weekly basis. That program will cost $4 million its first year.

Haulers will collect grass, leaves, brush and Christmas trees that are placed on curbs in plastic bags or bundles. The refuse then will be sent to a regional facility for composting.

County officials hope to meet the recycling goal of 23 percent by diverting much of the 27,000 tons of yard waste annually dumped in the Millersville landfill.

The council also will hear testimony on an amended 10-year Solid Waste Management Plan, which lays out key options on how the county will dispose of its trash in the next century. Because the Millersville landfill will be full in as few as 13 years, the plan says the county must decide whether to participate in a controversial regional waste-to-energy incinerator by July 1995, or start finding land for a new 500 acre landfill by January 1996.

County officials estimate a new landfill will cost about $1 million an acre. Environmentalists say the county can avoid building an incinerator by maximizing recycling, composting and waste reduction, and dumping the small remainder in a landfill.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers at the Arundel Center in Annapolis.

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