Harford County's public works department wants to charge out-of-county trash haulers the same tipping fee as those in Harford, resurrecting some discussion about the tipping fee in general among the county council Tuesday.
The in-county tipping fee for trash disposal went up in July 2011.
Under a bill before the council, all trash haulers, regardless of where they are from, would be charged a minimum tipping fee of $10, and $67 per ton for fiscal year 2012.
That rate would go up incrementally to $72 per ton in fiscal year 2015.
For legal reasons, the tipping fee needs to be raised for those bringing waste into the county, Tom Hilton, deputy director of the county's environmental services division, told the council during a hearing Tuesday.
"The reason for this change is to be in compliance with the dormant commerce clause," Hilton said. "We cannot discriminate against out of county waste."
Councilman Dion Guthrie asked Hilton how much trash comes into the county from other jurisdictions, explaining he has a number of about 20,000 tons per year.
Hilton noted the county has a temporary agreement to send some Harford trash to Baltimore County, which includes allowing Baltimore County to ultimately ship 250,000 tons of trash to Harford over the course of five years.
Hilton said he estimates nine to 11 trucks come into Harford daily from Baltimore County.
Councilman Chad Shrodes asked how desirable it is for suppliers from other counties to come to Harford.
Hilton replied he does not think many people would consider bringing their trash here.
"It's very expensive now with fuel," he said. "We do not see an incentive for out of county waste coming into Harford county because of the tipping fee."
Guthrie asked if the county's tipping fee is higher than most.
"I think maybe what needs to be explained is why ours is so much higher," he said.
Hilton said the fee is in line with those of other governments in the state, but is slightly higher than those for private industries.
He said private industries charge about $50 per ton, but also have some different costs because commercial haulers who deliver trash to a private company do not have access to some things.
Also on Tuesday, the council held hearings on bills requesting the appropriation of $1.3 million to cover expenses from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee; giving an economic development opportunity fund loan of $100,000 to Bizerba Label Solutions in Joppa; amending the zoning code to allow certain temporary uses for up to 45 days; appropriating $7 million to cover post-employment benefits; and entering a health care consortium with CareFirst to provide insurance up to $3.3 million for county government, the Harford County Board of Education and Harford Community College.
Legislative liaison Nancy Giorno said an amendment will change the CareFirst amount to $2.2 million.
"In view of health insurance increasing all over the place, how did we end up saving $1.1 million?" Guthrie asked.
Giorno, who was sitting in for human resources director Scott Gibson, did not have answers to most of the council members' questions on the bill, prompting Council President Billy Boniface to ask that the questions be passed on to him.