The Virgin Islands’ waste management authority recently advised waste haulers that tipping fees would be set to rise effective August 1 to $52 per ton.
Local haulers, however, say the new higher fees will be crippling to their businesses and are warning that it could lead to disruptions in collections and rises in illegal dumping.
The authority had originally talked of implementing the tipping fees last year, but delayed rising them after coming under pressure from lawmakers and residents. Local haulers are asking for a flat rate similar to St. Thomas, whose waste haulers are currently allowed to include a flat fee in their charge.
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Moments earlier, however, waste haulers on St. Croix to include Bates Trucking, Just Right Trucking, Atlantic Trucking, VI regulated Waste Management, Paradise Waste, Dan’s Trucking and Marco Trucking, gathered outside the legislative building in Frederiksted to voice their concerns and lobby against the implementation of the new fees, which comes at an average rate of $52 per ton. Waste haulers say the new rates gravely damage their operations, with one owner describing the move as “business-ending.”
“Number one, the tipping fees are really high out the sky,” said James Bates, owner of Bates Trucking. He explained that a 20-yard bin, which is the equivalent of 20 tons, increases a customer’s charge from having only to pay the waste hauler, to now include Waste Management as well. At 20 tons, the payment to W.M.A. would be $1020 — well over what it would cost for simply paying the waste hauler to dispose of the garbage.
W.M.A. says the tipping fee per ton ranges from $31.28 to $65.26 depending on the type of material being disposed.
“We gone from them not charging us anything to a thousand and change for one bin,” Mr. Bates complained. “I just cleaned a property for a young lady, the cost for me was $1340. One of her bins came in at 22,” Mr. Bates said. At that weight, the tipping fee for one of the customer’s three bins would be $1144. If the three bins weighed about the same, the tipping fee cost would be $3432. “These expensive tipping fees that they’re coming with is going to cripple this economy,” Mr. Bates said.