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Northampton hikes solid waste fees

JACKSON – There will be an increase in the solid waste availability fee in Northampton County.

At their recent meeting, the Board of Northampton County Commissioners approved the increase to the county’s solid waste availability fee by $12 annually. There are 10,929 users within the county.

“The proposed rate increased would be $1 per month per improved property,” said Public Works Director Billy Martin. “This increase is needed to provide the Solid Waste Budget with funds to operate under a proposed balanced budget.”

In 1998, the former board of commissioners voted the service to be a self-sustaining, service fee program.

The current rate is $174.50; Martin said the rate would change to $186.50. The fee shows up on citizens’ county tax bills each year.

Martin attributed the rise in the increase to disposal cell maintenance and normal operations of the enterprise funds. The county’s solid waste service provider, Waste Industries, is also entitled to CPI (consumer price index) increase each year.

Cells (areas in the landfill that have met their capacity) are covered with dirt and are required to be maintained by the state. Test wells are also on site and are tested annually to be sure none of the by-product leaks out of the cell.

Martin noted the increase would be permanent.

The commissioners noted the difficult decision to increase the fee and how the fund is supposed to be self-sufficient.

“I’m very sensitive to the increase,” said Commission Vice Chair Fannie Greene (D-5th). “Service is not service unless it’s affordable.”

Greene went on to note how the citizens were asked to keep supporting the program instead of the program being self-sustainable.

The increase will be effective July 1.