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St. Lawrence County legislators will consider Solid Waste alternative plan

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CANTON — St. Lawrence County legislators have another alternative to consider on how to increase the use of the solid waste transfer stations and lower tipping fees.

“We all know how we got here,” said Highway Superintendent Toby W. Bogart, who also oversees the Solid Waste Department. “What we need is compromise so everybody has a little skin in the game.”

The proposal includes a county investment in its facilities, possible union concessions, a commitment from the larger private haulers, and a more sustainable model that can keep tipping fees stable for several years.

Under the plan developed by a solid waste committee chaired by Legislator Joseph R. Lightfoot, R-Ogdensburg, and private parties, the county would spend more than $1 million for equipment, including larger trailers for the trip to the Development Authority of the North Country-operated landfill in Rodman, and several compactors. Over time, the Solid Waste Department would cut the number of its employees from 15 to 13. Some employees might work 10-hour shifts, cutting the cost of overtime.

The cost for everyone dumping recyclables at the transfer stations would rise from $25 per ton to $50 per ton. There would be a new tip fee of $90 per ton for haulers that bring to the transfer stations waste that has already been compressed. Haulers that bring waste directly to Rodman would commit to delivering to the transfer stations an additional 5,000 tons annually, increasing the county’s total from 24,000 tons to 29,000 tons.

The tipping fee for other haulers would drop from $131 per ton to $125 per ton. The rate for everyone else who uses the stations would drop from $160 per ton to $155 per ton.

“We’re trying to give everyone a decrease,” county recycling coordinator Scott A. Thornhill said. “We believe we have a budget in place that doesn’t impact the public.”

A surcharge for haulers who go directly to the landfill would increase from $4.50 per ton to $6 per ton to cover leachate removal.

A proposal from Legislator Frederick S. Morrill, D-DeKalb Junction, also remains in play to increase the surcharge at the landfill from $4.50 per ton to $18,50 per ton to cover the leachate costs and to help the county better spread the cost of dealing with solid waste.

Mr. Morrill said he still thought all those who make waste should pay for the county’s obligations to pay for landfills that had to be closed.

“Only the transfer station people are the ones who pay for this. That’s where I believe this is wrong,” he said. “You’ve done a good job of negotiating. I don’t believe in negotiating away the fairness.”

Mr. Morrill said he was not tied to his surcharge number and legislators agreed to have independent consultants review the numbers of both proposals.

While Mr. Morrill may have a point about fairness, the county should not bring problems on itself when a workable solution exists, Legislator Alex A. MacKinnon, R-Fowler, said.

“This particular solution I thought was pretty good,” he said. “Everybody gives a little.”

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