Trash Problems in St. Lawrence County

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In St. Lawrence County, it's getting harder for the solid waste department to make money. It's a combination of more recycling and therefore less waste. But mainly, the problem is a drop in the amount of garbage being brought to the county's four transfer stations. An issue the legislature's finance committee is meeting on Monday to resolve.

"We're looking at a complicated issue. And there is quite a divergence of opinion as to how to go about handling it," said Joseph Lightfoot, solid waste committee chair.

One option is raising prices for transferring. Basically a surcharge to haulers who bypass the county's system and instead go directly to the regional landfill in Rodman. To help make up for lost revenue, they would be assessed a penalty of $18.50 per ton. It's a plan the chairman of the county finance committee is pushing for, to boost what he calls the common cost.

"By the common cost I mean a certain percentage of the administration, a certain percentage of the planning, and some of the fixed costs of the entire system," said Fred Morrill, finance committee chair.

Something else to consider: Massena is threatening to pull out. And haul its own trash directly to Rodman. That's because Massena officials say the county's existing system, and its increasing fees, is too costly and unfair to users. But before anything is decided, the chairman of the solid waste committee has asked to see how the numbers add up.

"I've asked for a cost-benefit analysis and those are in the process or will be in the process of being conducted here very, very soon," said Lightfoot.

Lightfoot is planning to meet with haulers, representatives from Massena, and others before the legislatures budget meeting tomorrow. All to build a plan that everybody can live with.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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