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County OKs landfill fee increases

OBSERVER Photo by Gregory Bacon Pictured are members of the Chautauqua County Legislature.

Chautauqua County is moving ahead with raising some of its landfill fees.

During Wednesday night’s legislature meeting, county lawmakers voted 12-3 for a new fee structure which includes an increase in municipal solid waste at the transfer stations by $3 per ton.

Voting against the resolution were Legislators Bob Bankoski, D-Dunkirk, Susan Parker, D-Fredonia, and John Penhollow, R-Stockton. Legislators Dan Pavlock, R-Sinclairville, Bob Scudder, R-Fredonia, Jay Gould, R-Ashville, and Marty Proctor, R-Mina, were absent.

Bankoski said he was concerned the increase would hurt Dunkirk residents. “I know the amount that we’re talking about may be minuscule … but we have a lot of seniors citizens that are on a fixed income. There’s a lot of people that live below the poverty level and I think this will have a negative impact on the people in the city of Dunkirk,” he said.

Legislator Terry Niebel, R-Sheridan defended the increase, noting that the landfill relies on fees to cover its operating expense. “The landfill is an enterprise fund. By increasing these user fees, it will make this enterprise fund viable,” he said.

Legislator Tom Harmon, R-Silver Creek, agreed. “These user fees need to be increased. The cost of fuel and the way things have been going lately, it’s necessary that these fees be raised,” he said.

The full list of fee changes are as follows:

TRANSFER STATION FEES

* Construction and demolition from $60 to $64 per ton;

* Municipal solid waste from $42 to $45 per ton.

LANDFILL FEES

* Asbestos from $80 to $85 per ton for friable and from $40 to $43 for non-friable;

* Construction and demolition from $40 to $43 per ton;

* Municipal solid waste from $30 to $31 per ton.

PROBLEMATIC WASTE LOADS

* Frozen materials – large load excavation fee $75 to $80 and small load excavation fee from $50 to $53;

* Excessive liquids from $75 to $80;

* Uncovered loads from $50, lowering to $10.

LANDFILL COMMISSION

In a separate matter, the legislature voted 13-2 to appoint Michael Saar and Christine Storer to the newly created landfill commission.

Before the vote Bankoski spoke out against the resolution. “I don’t think we should have businesses on this commission to tell us on how we should run our landfill,” he said.

Saar is with the Jamestown BPU, while Storer represents Storer’s Container Service in Stockton. When the commission was formed, it was scheduled to be made up of two county legislators, one Ellery town board member, a large municipal customer, a large private customer, a waste hauler, and a representative of a community hosting a county transfer station.

The only vacancy that remains is the large private customer. A representative from Bush Industries has reportedly been invited, but that individual has not been officially presented to the legislature for appointment.

The commission has no legal authority and is said to hold an advisory role.

Both Bankoski and Parker have also criticized in the past the creation of the landfill commission, saying it isn’t necessary and questioned its role on how it will operate and influence the legislature.

Last month Bankoski approved the appointments of the legislators, town board member and representative of Sherman, which has a transfer station.

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