Oswego County’s new flow control law begins on Monday and this time, an Oswego businessman says he may not have the ability to fight it.
Jeff Holbrook of JWJ Enterprises worries he may have to shut down his private trash transfer station and leave the trash hauling business entirely, costing at least ten jobs.
The county wants to control the flow of garbage in the county. Under the law, private and public trash haulers would have to bring all of the trash generated in the county to the county’s trash transfer station.
That would take almost all of the business from Holbrook’s privately-run station in New Haven, much of which is generated by Holbrook’s own trash hauling and construction businesses.
Holbrook said the county will charge him as much as $50 per ton of waste, while he can take it to privately run landfills such as Seneca Meadows for about half the price.
“Government cannot compete against private competition unless they put their competition out of business,” Holbrook said. “It would be like if Burger King would issue all the building permits for all of the McDonald’s.”
The new law takes the place of a law Holbrook fought successfully beginning in 2008. Earlier this year, a federal judge struck down the county’s flow control law for being too vague. Holbrook says the new law is much more specific.
He’d like to fight the new law on civil rights grounds, arguing that it deprives him of the right to operate his business, but he doesn’t think he can afford a second battle. The first one cost him more than $100,000, he said.
Oswego County Attorney Richard Mitchell said he would not comment on the flow control law because of the lawsuit except to note that the new law was brought to a committee of the County Legislature in October, a public hearing was held in November and it was approved at December’s meeting.
Holbrook said he had not heard that a new law was coming and only got a copy of the law Wednesday night.
The new law sets fines of up to $3,000 per incident if trash is hauled to other transfer stations. Holbrook said he could rack up fines of $30,000 a week and he simply can’t afford it.
Legislature Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said he was never sold on the idea of a flow control law because of the impact on private businesses. “This was supposed to make (the solid waste budget) self-sufficient but I think we need to look at other options,” he said. “We should have looked at the impact and done a better job of due diligence.”
“They’re using my tax money to put me out of business,” Holbrook said.