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St. Lawrence County trash haulers talk association

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OGDENSBURG — A group of St. Lawrence County trash haulers is trying to determine if there is interest in forming an association to give them more clout with legislators when it comes to operations of the Solid Waste Department.

The meeting, open to the county’s 50-odd registered small haulers, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Knights of Columbus, 721 Hasbrouck St.

“This is a first step,” said Clinton M. Middlemiss, Middlemiss Trucking & Trash Removal, who is organizing the meeting with Charles Roach, Chuck’s Disposal Service.

Haulers have a number of issues that would be better served by group representation, such as worries over whether the county will privatize its solid waste operation and complaints about aspects of how the transfer stations are run, Mr. Middlemiss said.

Some haulers have issues with the green bag system for recyclables, who must have a permit, selective enforcement of rules, and their responsibilities when it comes to educating their customers on what should be recycled.

Joseph R. Lightfoot, R-Ogdensburg; Frederick S. Morrill, D-DeKalb Junction, and Donald A. Peck, R-Gouverneur, are among the legislators invited to the meeting.

“We don’t think the legislators are hearing what they need to hear,” Mr. Middlemiss said.

Mr. Peck said he understood why the small haulers that use the transfer stations might want to form an association.

“I don’t have a problem with that whatsoever,” he said.

Mr. Morrill said he did not know much about the meeting other than that he was asked to attend.

“I want to know what’s going on,” he said. “I don’t have any agenda of my own.”

Mr. Lightfoot, the chairman of the county’s Solid Waste Committee, said the county has a vested interest in keeping the small haulers in business because they bring the bulk of waste to the transfer sites.

“It’s the small haulers that make this thing work,” he said. “Small haulers are the bread and butter of this solid waste system we have.”

While he said he was happy to go to the meeting, Mr. Lightfoot said he thought an invitation also should be extended to Toby W. Bogart, superintendent of the county Highway Department, which oversees the Solid Waste Department, and Recycling Coordinator Scott A. Thornhill if haulers want answers about day-to-day operations.

Mr. Bogart said that he was aware of the meeting but that neither he nor Mr. Thornhill had been asked to attend.

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