PLATTSBURGH — Tipping fees at the Clinton County Landfill and Mooers Transfer Station will go up in the new year.
Effective Jan. 1, 2011, in-county tipping fees at the main landfill on Sand Road in Morrisonville will go from $59.13 per ton to $60.09.
Out-of-county tipping fees for regular garbage will rise from $71.00 per ton to $72.16.
Out-of-county fees for construction debris will go from $81.12 per ton to $82.45.
The minimum scale fee will increase from $16 to $18 per load up to 600 pounds.
Fees at the Mooers Transfer Station will go from $77.76 per ton to $79.03 for all trash.
The scale fee in Mooers will rise from $16 per load to $18 for up to 440 pounds.
The increases are part of the 25-year lease agreement the county has with New England Waste Services, a branch of Casella Waste Systems, to operate the landfill.
Fees were set for the first 10 years of the agreement, which began in 1996, with scheduled increases built in for the final 15 years.
BASED ON PRICE INDEX
Landfill General Manager Craig Squier explained that the annual increases are based on the consumer price index of the previous 12 months.
The index from October 2009 through September of this year saw an increase of 2.17 percent. Under the contract with the county, Casella is allowed to increase its fees by three-quarters of the index average, which amounts to an increase of 1.63 percent for 2011.
The 2010 increase would have amounted to only about 7 cents on the tipping fees, so Casella opted to delay that hike for one year and just add it onto the 2011 fee.
"It wouldn't have been worth it to raise it just 7 cents so we decided to wait a year," Squier said.
The tipping fee had been $54.75 per ton for the first 10 years.
"The built-in fee increases were intended to allow Casella to keep pace with the costs of infrastructure like heat, lights and things like that," Squier said.
"But the biggest cost we have is payroll, and the employees will be getting a 2.5-percent raise as part of their union contract, and it's hard to keep up with that."
About 40 county workers are employed at the landfill and area convenience stations.
The minimum scale fees had been $10 for the first 10 years but have gone up by $2 each year since 2007 as part of a planned five-year price increase.
The final increase will occur next year, for 2012, when the minimum scale fee will rise to $20.
Squier said the scale fee, although it has gone up, is still a good deal.
"If you're going up to dump your garbage and your neighbor has something to take, you can get a lot of garbage up to 600 pounds," Squier said.
"It's an option for people."
Residents can still take garbage to the convenience stations and pay for stickers to be placed on bags. Stickers cost $2 each.
Eighteen-gallon bags require one sticker, while 33-gallon bags need two stickers.
Large lawn bags of up to 50 gallons require three stickers each.
'BITING THE BULLET'
Area haulers are bracing for the fee hike.
"It's not a huge increase, but we've been biting the bullet the past few years," said Ronnie Rinn of R. Rinn Light Hauling.
"I haven't figured out just what we are going to do yet, but we will try to find ways to cut our costs so we can be fair and take care of our customers."
Rinn said the scale fee may not sit too well with some dump users.
"You still have to go up and wait in line in all kinds of weather, and I assume people's time is just as valuable as anyone else's."
City of Plattsburgh Public Works Superintendent Mike Brodi said the city is not raising its trash-pickup rates for 2011, despite the landfill increase.
But he said a city increase might have to be considered for 2012.
E-mail Joe LoTemplio at: email@example.com