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County eyes raising landfill fees, instituting recycling fee and eliminating recycling drop-boxes

Proposals are an attempt to close a projected Department of Solid Waste budget shortfall

March 15, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com
  • A resident places recyclables in a bin at the 40 West Landfill and Recycling Center in this file photo. Washington County is considering raising landfill fees, instituting a recycling fee and eliminating recycling drop-boxes from within the city of Hagerstown starting in July, county officials said Tuesday.
Herald-Mail file photo

Washington County is considering raising landfill fees, instituting a recycling fee and eliminating recycling drop-boxes from within the city of Hagerstown starting in July, county officials said Tuesday.

The proposed measures are an attempt to close a projected Department of Solid Waste budget shortfall and to promote self-sufficiency in a department in which the landfill-permit and recycling programs currently operate at a loss, Clifford J. Engle, the county's director of solid waste, told the Washington County Commissioners.

"Other than obviously the cost of services going up, we've also experienced, especially since 2006, a fairly dramatic decline in the amount of revenue-bearing waste coming into the landfill," Engle said.

The county depends on tipping fees to subsidize its landfill permit program and recycling program, and reduced tipping fee revenue is making it even more difficult to cover all the costs, he said.

To reduce the cost of the recycling program, Engle recommended removing recycling drop-boxes from within the city, which offers its own curbside recycling program, and moving the other drop-boxes inside municipal solid-waste facilities, where they can be monitored for proper use.

In addition, he suggested charging a recycling fee of between $8 and $13 a year per household outside of the municipalities to cover recycling program costs instead of forcing landfill users to subsidize those costs.

Proposed fee hikes included a $5-per-year increase for regular landfill permits, a $2-per-ton increase to the solid-waste tipping fee and a $2 increase to the minimum scale fee, among other increases.

The county would also reduce its transfer station hours to five days a week from the current six to eliminate the need for overtime and would reduce overtime hours for landfill employees, Engle said.

The recommendations are part of the county's proposed fiscal  2012 budget, which will go to a public hearing before returning to the commissioners for a vote. Both the hearing and the vote typically take place in May.

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Proposed county solid waste fees


  • Landfill permit fee (one year) — $130 (currently $125)
  • Senior landfill permit fee (one year) — $95 (no change)
  • Municipal solid waste tipping fee — $52/ton (currently $50/ton)
  • High volume, low-weight tipping fee — $120/ton (currently $100/ton)
  • Minimum scale fee — $10 (currently $8)
  • Mattress disposal fee — $15 each (currently no separate fee)
  • Yard debris disposal fee — $63/ton (currently $60/ton)
  • Cost to buy mulch — $30/ton (currently $25/ton)
  • Cost to buy compost — $20/ton (currently $12/ton)
  • Tire recycling — $3 each (currently $2.50)
  • Bulk tire recycling — $162/ton (currently $140/ton)
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