Mayors want commissioners to act on trash collection, disposal

June 10, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

It's high time the county commissioners made a decision on how the county will collect and dispose of its waste in the future, some of Carroll's town officials told them yesterday.

"The three of you have to get off the dime here and show some solid leadership," Manchester Town Manager Terry Short said.

The mayors are looking for ways to reduce trash-collection costs for their residents and to find alternatives to dumping garbage in landfills.

Westminster Mayor W. Benjamin Brown, a candidate for a commissioner seat, said he has been asking for a decision for six years.

Commissioner Julia W. Gouge agreed that the commissioners should make a decision soon.

"The time is now," said Mrs. Gouge, who is running for a 5th District delegate seat this year.

The mayors criticized the commissioners' decision last week to increase the fee to dump in county landfills without also implementing a long-range trash plan.

The commissioners voted unanimously to increase the fee to $45 a ton -- from $40 a ton -- to help pay for future operating and capital costs.

Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy defended his decision.

"Let's call the $5 tipping fee increase a profile in courage. It was done in an election year," he said.

He and Commissioner Donald I. Dell are seeking re-election.

Citizens committees have studied the issue of trash disposal in the past two years. The Waste-to-Energy Committee recently recommended against building an incinerator; it said the county should build a composting facility and increase its recycling rate.

Earlier this year, the Solid Waste Collection Study Committee split 5-5 over whether the county should contract with private haulers to collect trash.

Currently, residents contract with one of nine private haulers working in Carroll.

Half of the committee recommended that the county hire private contractors to collect trash in different areas of the county. The county would bill residents and take their complaints.

Committee members estimated residents could save about $41 a year by using this system. Residents now pay $108 to $180 per year for trash collection, the report said.

The other half of the committee, which included representatives from three private hauling companies, voted to maintain the current collection practices.

Mr. Lippy said the commissioners should make a decision before the end of their term in December about whether the county should be involved in collecting trash.

"We have to get it off the shelf and vote on it," he said.

Mr. Dell said he is interested in a regional approach to trash disposal and said county officials have time to continue studying the issue.

"It's not like we're running out of landfill space tomorrow," he said.

Hoods Mill Landfill in South Carroll is scheduled to close this summer.

Northern Landfill in Reese should be open about 15 more years.

"Every time we discuss this thing, a new tentacle comes up. We discuss solid waste more than we do any other issue," Mr. Dell said.

Mr. Brown said that, if the cost to dump in Carroll landfills continues to increase, the towns may take their trash to landfills in nearby states with cheaper tipping fees.

Sykesville Mayor Kenneth W. Clark said some council members VTC in his town have suggested hauling their garbage to an out-of-state landfill to save money. Sykesville is the only Carroll town that collects its own garbage.

The mayors recently voted unanimously that the county should implement a composting and recycling system by 1997.

Seven of Carroll's eight mayors attended yesterday's meeting.

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