Despite the gloom-and-doom predictions the Washington County Commissioners heard this past Tuesday, they'd be wise not to make any hasty moves on the county's landfill, especially, as is almost inevitable, someone suggests selling it to private industry.
The problem the commissioners face is that haulers will bring only 56,000 tons of solid waste to the landfill this year, as opposed to the 77,000 predicted. Because a drop in tonnage doesn't mean a drop in fixed costs, the commissioners face a possible deficit by 2001, a deficit that could grow to $1 million by 2003.
But those projections assume that current conditions will not change, that haulers now taking trash to landfills in Upton, Pa. and other locations will continue to do so and that the county will take no action to head off its financial problems.
The most obvious possibility: Cut the solid waste charge of $45 a ton, which is apparently what chased the haulers and their business into Pennsylvania. Another idea: Divide the county into garbage sub-districts, let a contract for municipal waste hauling in each area and force haulers who win contracts to use the county's landfill.