Cortland County lawmakers on the County’s solid waste committee plan to look at the pros and cons associated flow control, which is a law requiring all trash generated in the County be disposed of at the County owned landfill.
Flow control laws are not a new concept, the laws have been challenged in the U-S Supreme Court and have been upheld.
Cortland County is now looking at flow control as a way to stem ongoing losses at the landfill, last year the landfill lost over $400 thousand dollars, this year those losses are on track to be about the same. The money to cover those losses comes from County taxes.
Part of the losses are due to haulers taking local trash out of the county which cuts profits at the landfill, another issue is that residents simply aren’t generating as much trash as they used to due to the poor economy, better recycling, and smarter product packaging.
Legislator John Troy who heads the solid waste group says flow control could help stem losses by guaranteeing a steady stream of trash, which would increase tipping fee revenue.
In addition to considering flow control Troy asked the committee to consider raising county dumping fees from $60 per ton to $70 per ton.
Legislative Chair Mike Park is opposed to flow control, he thinks government already intrudes into business too much, Park wants to see the County consider some other short term alternatives highlighted in a study of the landfill, such as the recent decision to accept outside cover material at the facility. That move is expected to reduce costs and generate some additional money for the operation.
Lawmaker Kathy Arnold who has previously advocated for flow control says the County is in a tough position, she understands the concerns of private businesses, but says the county must address the financial losses.
Lawmakers have also talked about enacting a solid waste assessment fee on all property owners in the county, including tax-exempt properties to help defray landfill operation costs.
Local waste hauler Greg Leach is opposed to flow control Leach has spent hundreds of thousand of dollars building a transfer station so he can haul trash out of the county, he sees flow control as direct infringement on his rights. Leach says the County should work with trash haulers to encourage them to use the landfill rather than adopt anti-business legislation.
Ron Fuller owner of Fullers Trash service welcomes flow control, he feels that haulers should support the county landfill and that flow control will improve competition between the small and large trash haulers.
Lawmaker’s also talked about looking at volume discounts for haulers and offering municipalities discounts that direct their waste to the landfill.