Dumping fees could increase for first time in 24 years

Tipping fees are set to go up for customers primary higher for those from outside Montgomery county. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
Tipping fees are set to go up for customers primary higher for those from outside Montgomery county. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

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Proposed cost increases higher for out-of-county customers.

For the first time in 24 years, the Montgomery County Solid Waste District is proposing a rate increase that will primarily affect out-of-county customers and shift costs less dramatically for Montgomery County residents and businesses.

“Some of our costs of our services were exceeding — in some cases pretty highly exceeding — our revenue from those different commodities,” said Bob Downing, Montgomery County Environmental Services assistant director.

The minimum fee for anyone using the Montgomery County Solid Waste District Transfer and Recycling Facility would jump from $3 to $5 for everyone. The tipping fee per ton for Montgomery County customers would remain at $30.50 but climb from $37 to $55 for out-of-county users, under the proposal examined by the county’s Solid Waste Advisory Committee last week.

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Part of the change is also to even out the cost between out-of-county users and Montgomery County customers who are already assessed a $21.50 annual fee that shows up in their property tax bill.

“When folks from out of Montgomery County come to the facility, they did not have to pay that charge,” Downing said.

Tipping fees on regular waste brought in nearly $13.2 million in 2020. The proposed fee increase to out-of-district customers could result in an additional $788,616 a year, provided volume remains unchanged, according to the county.

Downing said new revenue may not reach that level if out-of-district customers choose to go elsewhere.

“My gut’s telling me 50% to 60% will probably stay,” he said.

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The solid waste district consists of 28 Montgomery County municipalities and accounts for about 90% of regular waste tonnage that passes through the transfer station. Customers from Clark County bring in nearly 7% while about 1.6% arrives from Greene County.

One money-losing service is disposing of tires. It currently costs the county $234.50 per ton but is only charging $170 per ton.

Montgomery County residents will still get to dispose of 10 tires annually for free, but the rate could jump to $240 a ton for county residents and $337 for those outside the waste district, according to the proposal.

The waste district also aims to recoup about $90,000 in annual credit card fees by passing along a 3% charge to customers, according to the proposal.

The changes could be implemented as early as Sept. 1, Downing said. First, however, the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office is reviewing the proposal to determine if public hearings are required. The Montgomery County Board of County Commissioners would also have to approve any change.

The proposed changes also include closing weekday operations an hour earlier at 7 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. Currently, just 1.5% of the total number of customers arrive on average during the last hour, Downing said.

Each visit to the facility is also accompanied by a $4.75 Environmental Protection Agency fee and $3 per ton state-mandated generation fee.