County Approves Fee Hike At Transfer Stations

OSWEGO, NY – At its meeting Thursday afternoon, the Oswego County Legislature adopted a five-year tipping fee schedule for the Department of Solid Waste.

The vote was 19 to 6.

Under the plan, the general waste tipping fees (transfers $ per ton) will go from the current $80 to $85 in 2011 and $105 in 2015. General waste tipping fees (landfill $ per ton) will increase from the 2010 rate of $52 to $54 in 2011 and $62 in 2015.

Tipping fees at the Energy Recovery Facility (No Residents) will jump from the 2010 rate of $52 to $54 in 2011 and $62 in 2015.

Some of the fees, such as the one charged major haulers only for construction-demolition debris at the ERF, will decrease. The current charge is $52 per ton. That will dip to $50 next year and then $46 for 2015.

The total five-year increase equals 3.7 percent per year for landfill and ERF, and 5.7 percent for the transfer stations.

According to Frank Visser, director of the county’s solid waste program, historically, C&D has been exported to Seneca Meadows and Onondaga.

“In order to provide a more level cost in the area, for disposal of C&D, we propose to lower the fee,” he explained.

In an attempt to obtain wood waste for composing, Visser recommended dropping the charge for brush and lowering the charge for tree waste.

Legislator Doug Malone said he felt raising the fees is like raising taxes and it should go to a public hearing first.

Legislator Jack Proud said the five-year plan adds to the transparency of the process and “there will be no surprises” for the taxpayers down the road. The plan contains some increases, but also some decreases, he pointed out.

Legislator Mike Kunzwiler said the issue will keep coming back to the legislature. The five-year plan “is not a solution. It is a Band-Aid,” he added.

He urged the legislature to have a comprehensive review of all the transfer stations conducted regarding the financial aspects and then put the whole thing up to a public vote.

“We went through a very deep study. We found out that people wanted to keep the system within the county and did not want to privatize this. It was studied to death,” Legislator Barbara Brown replied.

Legislator Fred Beardsley added the county has been dealing with this issue for at least a year and a half.

His constituents have spoken loud and clear, he said; they overwhelmingly want the county to continue operating the transfer stations.

However, there is a cost, he continued. If people want the transfer stations to stay open, they’re going to have to pay for it, he noted.

“This (five-year) plan is laid out with the future in mind, and has been very carefully laid out. We have spent the time and done our homework and came up with this plan,” he said. “It’s time to move on.”

Voting against the five-year plan were legislators Malone, Kunzwiler, Milferd Potter, Mary Flett, Amy Tresidder and Jake Mulcahey.

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