To keep pace with the costs of trash disposal, the Carroll County commissioners approved yesterday increases in the fees charged at the Northern Landfill.
Haulers will pay $54 per ton, an increase of $3. Individual cars will see a 50-cent increase, to $4.50, to dispose of trash.
Tipping fees, paid by trash haulers and residents who take refuse to the county's landfill on Route 140 near Westminster, pay the bulk of solid-waste operating costs. The county last increased the fees in 2002.
A recently negotiated five-year agreement with Waste Management, a Waverly, Va.-based company that will haul and dispose of Carroll's solid waste, prompted the increase, said Frank Schaeffer, deputy director of the county's Department of Public Works.
The new contract calls for a $45-per-ton transfer and disposal fee that could increase to nearly $52 before the agreement expires in 2009.
Raising the tipping fee to $54 will generate $6.3 million to pay for the transfer and disposal of trash, costs that will reach $4.5 million this year. The remaining revenue will cover operating costs, Schaeffer said.
"When it comes down to it, we will be lucky to break even," he said.
The county will alter its policy for yard waste, material the landfill has previously accepted without charge and ground into mulch. The amount of brush has exceeded 15,000 tons annually, leaving the county with more mulch than it can give away. Nearly 80 percent of the yard waste comes from hauling companies.
The commissioners voted to assess a $15-per-ton charge for commercial operators who bring yard waste and brush to the landfill. The service will remain free for residents.
The county also will change its fees at Hoods Mill Landfill in Woodbine, which operates a Saturday pickup service for South Carroll residents. Charges there are $6 per car and $12 per pickup truck and "do not come close to covering our costs," said Schaeffer. Trash dumped there is trucked to other locations.
Haulers are taking trash to Hoods Mill and paying $12 a ton, avoiding the costlier fees at Northern Landfill. More than 6,400 trucks used the Woodbine facility last year, leaving trash the county had to haul to Northern Landfill and creating a shortfall of more than $83,000.
"We can't close Hoods Mill and send haulers to Northern Landfill, which is already burdened," said Schaeffer.