County debates raising tipping fees

NORWICH – As the new chair of the Chenango County Public Works Committee, City of Norwich (Wards 4,5,6) Supervisor Linda E. Natoli, said she is committed to “taking everything off the levy” that can be.

That could represent the impetus the committee has needed to raise tipping fees at the county’s landfills, and by doing so, to take the approximately $150,000 annual recycling budget off of taxpayers’ plates.

In the past, and despite the former committee chairman’s objections, Public Works has referred resolutions proposing modest increases of $2 a ton and 25 cents a bag at the landfills. The amount raised, they say, would be enough to operate the recycling department and pay its six employees’ salaries and benefits without levy support. The funds would furthermore build a buffer against fluctuating prices for recyclables, fuel, equipment, and construction of future landfill cells. A fourth cell at the Pharsalia Landfill will be needed in about nine years, at a cost of $3.5 million, including the closure costs of cell three.

Committee members have been adamant through the years that the recycling department was never meant to be part of the levy when the Pharsalia landfill was built 13 years ago. They have also pointed out that tipping fees, at $55 and $1.25 per bag, haven’t been raised since 1997.

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