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DANC proposes increase in dumping fee

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CANTON - Taking out the trash in the north country could get a bit more expensive next year.

The Development Authority of the North Country proposed charging $44 a ton for customers with contracts. That’s a $5 increase. For walk-in customers, the fee would be set at $46 per ton, also a $5 increase.

The authority, facing a decline in investment revenues, on Thursday proposed hiking the fees to dump at its Rodman landfill. Local governments or trash haulers would likely pass the increase on to the “end-user,” or the person who puts the weekly bag or two out on the curb. But DANC, which hasn’t increased tipping fees in the 20 years since the landfill opened, is still a cheap option for customers, said CEO James W. Wright.

“We fully assume that everybody is going to pass along” the costs, Mr. Wright said. “It’s just a product of how the system works.”

The authority’s Finance Committee voted to approve the proposed 2012-13 budget, which contained the increase. In March, the full DANC board will vote on the proposal.

Mr. Wright said that tough economic times have slowed the authority’s investment income. In 2008, the authority took in more than $4 million. This year, investment returns are projected to dip below $1 million.

And it’s not just a cash flow problem. It’s a trash flow problem, too. The authority’s aggressive recycling efforts have cut down on the amount of trash coming in, slowing its revenues without reducing its expenses much. And downturns in the economy have a direct effect on trash production, which generally slows with fewer people throwing out their old widgets and the packaging that their new one came in.

DANC gave its customers time to adjust. The new fee, if approved, wouldn’t go into effect until 2013, so that counties and local governments can adjust their budgets accordingly.

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