The County Commissioners last week discussed the proposed doubling of landfill dumping fees and the possible billing for them on propertytax bills.

The meeting -- called by the Department of Natural Resource Protection and not advertised on the commissioners' weekly agenda -- came as a surprise to the three commissioners, said Vice President Elmer C. Lippy Jr.

"I think it was a glitch," Lippy said of the Friday morning meeting that lasted three hours and attracted nearly 30 people.

The commissioners are mulling over several proposals that would allow the solid waste operations of the department to become self-supporting.

Among them is a doubling of the county's current $15 a ton "tipping fee" charged to trash haulers to dump refuse in the county landfill. Also on the table is a way to charge property owners a one-time $47 fee every year for trash collection, while charging commercial enterprises a $34.50 fee a ton.

Those fees would include money for a 7,500-home curbside recycling program.

Because of the confusion over the meeting time, Lippy said the commissioners had decided to postpone next Monday's formal public hearing on the impact fees until they hadmore time to study the fees.

James E. Slater Jr., director of theDepartment of Natural Resource Protection, said in a letter that theincrease in tipping fees is necessary.

"In these times of revenueshortages, sources of funding other than those that are tax base oriented are being investigated," he said. "The safe and efficient management of our solid waste are not only mandated by law, but are ethical requirements of our society."

The cost of providing trash and recycling services should top $3.9 million next year, Slater said.

Other fees being discussed are in the environmental review process mandated on all new development projects.

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