Proposed Trash Fee Increase Raises Concerns in Pennsylvania

Northampton County, Pa. -- Northampton County officials are pushing to raise the county's landfill tipping fee from $0.50 per ton to $3 per ton, despite protests from some landfill operators.

"We question how you can justify a 500 percent increase in the fee when the county doesn't provide any solid waste services," Tom McMonigle, landfill engineer with Chrin Bros. Inc., Williams Township, Pa., told The Morning Call.

The proposed fee, which has not been approved yet, would bring the county more in line with surrounding counties, which are charging as much as $5 per ton. The additional revenues generated -- as much as $600,000 by some estimates -- would be used to pay for the creation of a leaf and yard waste collection program and to enhance countywide recycling efforts, according to Vince Dominach, director of community and economic development.

According to Harry Smith, Houston-based Waste Management Inc. spokesman, many haulers probably will pass the costs along to consumers, while businesses likely will bare the brunt of the increase. Although homeowners do not generate nearly as much tonnage, McMonigle says that they likely will see slight increases if the fee increase is approved.

The county's Solid Waste Advisory Committee will meet in January 2002 to discuss the fee increase.