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Landfill-at-a-glance

January 21, 1997

Landfill-at-a-glance

What is the issue?

Revenue at the Washington County sanitary landfill has fallen because of a decrease in the amount of garbage dumped. If the amount of garbage dumped doesn't bounce back and fees aren't increased, the landfill will require nearly $5 million from the county general fund.

The budget projection calls for $3.3 million in transfers from the general fund between 1998 and 2000 to help pay for capital improvements. It also calls for operating subsidies from county taxpayers beginning in 2001 and rising to $1 million a year in 2003.

Why the crunch?

n County officials blame waste haulers for taking garbage to a landfill in Upton, Pa., and other landfills. The amount of garbage dumped declined after dumping fees were increased to $45 a ton.

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n The county projects expenditures of $20 million in capital costs over the next seven years, most to be spent on capping the Resh Road landfill and to open the adjacent Lund landfill. With less revenue from dumping fees and depleted reserves, the county would have to float a projected $14.2 million in bonds to pay for the improvements. It's projected that as a result, the cost of debt service would jump from $550,216 this year to $1,843,773 in 2003.

What is a possible solution?

Separate county into waste subdistricts and put contracts out for bid. Low bidders would be required by contract to take waste to the county landfill.

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