County legislature considers closing 4 transfer stations

By Debra J. Groom

A report will be issued by the end of May on how Oswego County can close four of its transfer stations by the end of 2015.

Department of Solid Waste Director Frank Visser said he, County Executive Philip Church and County Attorney Richard Mitchell have been directed by the county Legislature to come up with a plan to permanently close the transfer stations in Hannibal, Hastings, Oswego and Pulaski. Only Bristol Hill in Volney would remain open.

The report will be presented to the county Legislature’s Infrastructure, Facilities and Technology Committee.

Visser said the Legislature wants to see if the transfer stations can be closed because they are increasing “expensive” to operate.

He said they are supposed to be close to self sustaining, meaning they bring in enough money through the sale of punch cards and annual stickers to pay most of the costs of running the stations.

But he said use of the transfer stations has been on the decline in the last several years. He said about 250 to 300 fewer stickers and punch cards have been purchased each year, while costs to run the stations have increased.

The transfer stations are places where people bring their garbage. There are three ways to pay:

  • Weigh and pay, in which people pay by the amount of garbage (by the ton) they are dropping off. The minimum is $10.
  • Punch cards. For each 13-gallon garbage bag dropped off, the homeowner gets one punch on his or her card.
  • Annual sticker. This costs $165 and allows the homeowner bring unlimited amounts of household waste in for disposal.

Commercial and business enterprises also use the transfer stations, but they pay different fees.

“Garbage removal is something people expect,” Visser said. But the cost of operating the transfer stations is becoming too expensive and not enough money is coming in to pay the costs. Money to subsidize the stations’ operation comes out of the county’s general fund, which means all taxpayers are footing the bill even if they don’t use the stations.

This month at the Infrastructure, Facilities and Technology Committee, Visser gave a report on how to reduce the transfer stations’ drain on the county budget. He is proposing closing each transfer station one day a week beginning July 1.

His suggested shutdown schedule shows Hannibal being closed Monday, Pulaski on Tuesday, Hastings Wednesday, Oswego Thursday and Bristol Friday. With savings in personnel (three positions will be cut), benefits and electric and heat, Visser believes $189,845 will be saved.

He also proposes some fee increases for the transfer stations that would go into effect Jan. 1, 2015. They are:

  • Tipping fees at the landfill and Energy Resource Facility up from $62 to $65
  • Construction and demolition debris fees for major haulers increase from $46 to $50.
  • Weigh and pay at the transfer stations increase from $105 to $125.
  • Alternate Daily Cover fee increase from $25 to $30. This includes mostly contaminated soil.

Visser said based on quantities disposed of in 2013, these new fees would generate almost $500,000.

Visser said the Infrastructure, Facilities and Technology Committee approved the fee increases and one-day-week closures. If the Finance Committee approves those measures this week, the full Legislature will vote on the issues May 15.

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8 thoughts on “County legislature considers closing 4 transfer stations”

  1. Maybe raising the tipping fee for commercial haulers would be a better plan.
    You can’t get into Hastings or Bristol on a Saturday morning and I don’t know status of other stations. If Bristol is only one open on Saturday you will have traffic stopped with people waiting on the road. This sounds like a move by the commercial haulers to force everyone to use their services and their outrageous prices!

    1. This is ridiculous! It sounds like instead of cutting pork barrel expenses, it has to come out of the pockets of the people who actually support (through taxes) the county. The article mentions that all of the tax payers pick up the tab for the few that use it. What a joke, we “taxpayers” also pick up the tabs for the county legislators salaries, health care & pensions & who knows what other expenses they may be “entitled” to.

      This is much like the mosquito spraying. How long did it go on that they (legislature) said the county didn’t have the funds to spray!? Too long! Not until the little girl died did they do something about it. It’s about time the “have’s” (vs “havenots”), stop thinking of themselves. We are the ones that voted them in, it’s time to vote them out!

      The article also mentions the tipping fees going up from $62 to $65. That would be great seeings how I paid $165 for my dump sticker (Hastings). What’s up with that?!

      1. How many times have you gone to the dump and there is some one there that is got way more the just his house hold stuff and is dumping it on a yearly ticket?

        The aver 2.6 member house hold in Oswego County generates 4126 Pounds of garbage a year. At Hauler tipping fee price at a transfer station it would cost the hauler $218.22 to get rid of the same amount of trash. Where do you think that the solid waste system is leaking money?

  2. Why not only have the stations that they’d like to close open alternate days? Hannibal open only Saturday and Wednesday, for example? Wouldn’t that still save a significant amount of money? Closing all 4 stations seems excessive and I agree with the previous comment – that the lines would be horrendous. I’d rather pay a bit more to have the option to use our local dump than to have to pay the exorbitant fees that commercial haulers charge. :/

  3. I understand the stations are loosing money, but how can they if there are fewer stickers sold. Shouldn’t that mean there would be an increase in revenues from tipping fees from commercial haulers? If not then the fees are imbalanced or should be adjusted to keep these stations opened. At the very least closing them at some times during the week would be an alternative, or having different hours. Like many individuals I work from 8-5pm during the week, and I only have time on Saturdays. I can’t afford to spend ridiculous fees to haulers to dispose of trash. If anything they should be able to pay more for disposing it with the fees they collect.

  4. Proposing the closure of all transfer stations by the end of 2015 is a drastic measure. I’d like to know what the usage and operating costs are at each location, as well as a breakdown of commercial haulers versus residential use. Additionally, raising the fees for commercial haulers $3-5 is laughable. It’s clear by these feeble attempts that the County doesn’t want to keep the facilities open and is looking for a quick one-time revenue shot in the arm by selling the facilities. Fear not, privately owned waste management companies will jump at the chance of operating some of these transfer stations. The facilities will be reopened by private entities and costs for annual permits will double to match the cost of having curbside service. Many people will switch to curbside service, but will still need to use the “dump” for larger items, C&D debris, etc. County government wins by unloading solid waste facilities that they don’t know how to manage, private waste management providers win because they’ll make money from curbside and transfer station services and the residents lose… once again. Please remember to thank your County legislator at the polls in November.

  5. totally stupid, tax payers cant win,people pay for the dump pas. it will cost hard working people more gas and long waiting times. polotions waste more money of tax payers hard earned money. lets get read of pork spending.

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