By Barry Leemann, Chairman, Oswego County Legislature
Over the past 25 years, Oswego County government has invested $60 million to develop a dependable solid waste system that meets the needs of residents and businesses and protects our natural resources. The County LegislatureÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s recent adoption of the new Recycling and Solid Waste Law protects that investment and strengthens our countyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s solid waste management system.
For many years the county has relied on the property owner and taxpayer to cover the operating costs of the solid waste system, regardless of how much waste they generated. The new law includes a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œflow controlÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â policy that directs all solid waste be disposed of at county facilities. It also requires that residential recyclables be taken to a county solid waste facility. These two key changes will help to create a self-supporting solid waste system that doesnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t just rely on property owners to pay for operational costs.
Flow control requires that all solid waste generated in the county be taken to Oswego County facilities, and not to places in other counties, for disposal. Solid waste haulers pay the same rate and play by the same rules as those who bring their trash to a county facility.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â All waste generated in Oswego County needs to stay in the system, and disposal fees should cover operating costs, in order to generate enough revenue for ourÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â solid waste system to be self-supporting.
Fees Will Stabilize
Although some people have speculated that the law will cause fees to increase, experience shows that flow control stabilizes waste disposal costs in the long run. Several neighboring counties cut their disposal fees after adopting flow control legislation. In fact, Oswego County is committed to keeping solid waste fees at the current levels for 2009. Flow control will protect our taxpayersÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ investment in our solid waste system and make sure it is paid for by user fees, not property taxes.
Unfortunately, the amount of recyclable materials collected by Oswego County has declined dramatically in the past few years. People who bring their trash to the transfer stations are doing a great job of separating and disposing of their household recyclables. However, since the closing of the Materials Recovery Facility, weÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ve lost about half of the amount of recyclables that we collected and sold to raise revenue for the solid waste programs.
The revised law requires all solid waste haulers to bring recyclable materials collected from residents to a county recycling drop-off center. This will improve our revenue stream as well as benefit our environment for years to come.
Household Hazardous Waste and Other Services
ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s important to understand that tipping fees cover more than the landfill and transfer stations. In Oswego County we collect –Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â free of charge — waste oil, old computers, televisions, textiles, scrap metals, as well as the typical recyclable items of cardboard, papers, plastic, glass, and metal containers. Starting next year, weÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ll also collect household hazardous wastes. All residents can use these services — regardless of whether they use a hauler or bring their waste to a transfer station themselves.
Transfer stations and recycling drop-off centers are located at 3125 State Route 3, Volney; 1167 County Route 7, Hannibal; 1391 U.S. Route 11, Hastings; 700 E. Seneca Street, Oswego; and 100 County Route 2A, Pulaski. Operating hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. Weigh scales and sticker/punch card sales end Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â½- hour before the transfer stations close.
As I mentioned in my State of the County Address earlier this year, Oswego County government is involved in a number of projects to help conserve our natural resources. We have a longstanding commitment to protecting our environment through recycling, waste reduction and several other policies. The new Recycling and Solid Waste Law reinforces this important commitment.
If you would like more information, I encourage you to visit the Solid Waste DepartmentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Web site at http://oswegocounty.com/dsw.shtml or call the Solid Waste Department at 591-9200.