Trash tipping fee raised to $47 per ton residents will still get coupons for 2 free trips

Haulers likely will pass $2 increase to residents

March 18, 1998|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

Trash haulers in Carroll County will pay an additional $2 for each ton of waste they dump at the county's Northern Landfill, beginning July 1.

But Carroll residents will continue to get coupons for two free trips to the landfill a year.

The County Commissioners yesterday raised the tipping fee to $47 per ton, which will generate an additional $215,000 a year.

The actions were part of a review of the county's proposed solid waste budget for the next fiscal year.

The commissioners retained a program that provides coupons, attached to county property tax bills. They are worth up to $45 each. The program costs the county $164,000 a year.

Private haulers are likely to pass the increase on to residents, as they did when the county raised the fee from $40 to $45 in 1994.

The commissioners also increased other trash-related fees and eliminated some services.

The philosophy behind the commissioners' action is to charge landfill users the actual cost of the service rather than have county taxpayers share the expense.

However, taxpayers will continue to subsidize some operating costs. The commissioners concluded that raising tipping fees to cover actual costs would drive customers to cheaper landfills.

The county can't afford to lose large quantities of trash because its incineration contract with Waste Management of Maryland Inc. requires Carroll to supply 82,300 tons of trash a year.

Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Richard T. Yates quashed a proposal by Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown to reduce trash bills paid by residents outside incorporated towns. The county doesn't provide trash collection. Residents outside towns contract with private haulers.

Brown proposed franchising trash collection by district, giving the winning bidder exclusive residential collection rights. He voted against the tipping fee increase.

"I don't want to increase the tipping fee until we do something about collection costs," he said.

XTC The changes that will directly affect residents who take trash, recyclables or household hazardous waste to the Northern Landfill in Reese include:

The household hazardous waste program will end. The program allows residents to take hazardous items such as paint and thinner to a collection site at the landfill.

J. Michael Evans, county public works director, said the program costs $84,300 a year and diverts only about 2 percent to 3 percent of household hazardous wastes from the waste stream.

Weekday staffing at the landfill convenience area, where people can drop off household hazardous waste, recyclables and yard waste, will be eliminated. An attendant will staff the area on Saturday, the busiest day. On weekdays, residents can use the area, but no attendant will be present.

Fees for weekly trash acceptance at a site at the closed Hoods Mill landfill will increase. The county opens the landfill gates once a week to accept trash, which is then transferred to the Northern Landfill. The commissioners agreed to change the $4 minimum charge to a per-vehicle cost that reflects the costs of staffing the landfill and transporting the trash. The fee has not yet been determined.

The tipping fee increase represented part of a staff recommendation to narrow the gap between the current $45 fee and the actual operating cost, $67 a ton. That cost includes operations, recycling and the contract with Waste Management.

The county gains about $5 for each ton of trash incinerated. It charges haulers $45 per ton to bring in trash, but pays Waste Management $39.75 per ton to incinerate it. The $5 difference simply narrows the gap from $27 to $22, Evans said.

Pub Date: 3/18/98

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