Trash Talking Going On In St. Lawrence County

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It costs the village of Massena about $98,000 to dispose of 3,900 tons of garbage a year at the county's transfer station.

Village officials say the county's current system, with increasing tipping fees, is too costly and unfair to users.

"At some point we just have to pull the plug and say, 'Hey, look, we can do it more efficiently," said Massena Department of Public Works Supervisor Hassan Fayad.
         
That's why the village is threatening to haul its own trash directly to the regional landfill in Rodman.      

"We can save a tremendous amount of money based on what we're currently spending now for it through the county," said Mayor Jim Hidy.
                                                                          
The county is seeing a drop in refuse tonnage being brought to its four transfer stations as more people turn to recycling and reduce their generated garbage.

But tipping fees have jumped yearly since 2009 and are now at $137 a ton.

The county also has to abide by a flow control law with the Development Authority of the North Country.

But Massena officials say that's also unfair when the neighboring Franklin County landfill is just 35 miles from the village and Rodman is more than 100 miles away. 
                                                                                                     
Among the options the county is considering to deal with its solid waste situation is adding a surcharge or penalty to haulers.

Under county Finance Committee Chair Fred Morrill's plan, only haulers who bypass the county's system and went directly to Rodman would be assessed a penalty of $18.50 per ton to help make up for lost revenues and tonnage at the transfer stations.

"If we continue to lose tons, that surcharge will continue to go up. If we get our tons back to 30,000, the surcharge will go away," said Morrill.

But some haulers we spoke with say their customers are already having to pay too much and if the the extra surcharge for those direct haulers to Rodman is approved, the added costs would probably have to be passed down to consumers.

"Right now, things are okay, but if the price goes up, it's not going to be good the small business person or any of our customers," said Charlotte Beamis of Fuller's Trucking.                                    

Other options include modifying the flow control law, operating the system through a public-private partnership or getting out of the solid waste business altogether.

The county's finance committee met Monday night and tabled the issue until next month.

Thursday, October 30, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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