Worcester Landfill Fees On Rise

SNOW HILL – Beginning in January, landfill fees will increase for Worcester County residents.

Homeowner waste disposal permits, which allow residents to use the county’s central landfill and various Homeowner Convenience Centers, will cost $100 in 2015.

John Tustin, director of Worcester County Public Works, says the increase is an effort to cover operating costs for the department.

“Even at $100, in my mind it’s a bargain,” Tustin said. “We’ve kept the permit fee at a low rate. It’s a service we offer to the community.”

Residents were previously able to purchase one vehicle permit for $60 and a second for $15. For $100 in 2015, they will receive two vehicle permits.

In an effort to provide an option for residents who don’t use the landfill often, the county is also launching a new “pay as you throw” option. Instead of buying a vehicle permit, homeowners can purchase tags, at a cost of $1 each, to attach to each 33-gallon trash bag they dispose of. Tustin said the program, which is in use in other areas, treats trash disposal like other utilities.

“Households pay a variable rate depending on the amount of solid waste disposed of,” he said. “This creates a direct economic incentive to recycle more and dispose less waste because the less individuals throw away the less they pay.”

Bags larger than 33 gallons can be disposed of through the program as long as two tags are affixed to them. Tags, which are purchased in sheets of five, do not expire.

Yard waste is not included in the program, however, and can only be disposed of by those with the standard vehicle permit.

Tustin hopes the new program serves the needs of those who don’t want to face an increased permit fee.

“We wanted to give it a shot to give residents an alternative,” he said.

County officials are hoping that the permit fee increase — the second in recent years — will help chip away at the substantial solid waste operating costs.

“It’s always been a problem,” Tustin said. “Over the last several years with the loss of revenue from Ocean City we’ve been in the hole.”

He said county officials were investigating long-term answers to the problem but declined to elaborate.

Tags and homeowner permits for 2015 can be purchased at any of the three following locations: Worcester County Treasurer’s Offices, located in the Worcester County Government Center in Snow Hill and the Isle of Wight Office in Bishopville, and the Worcester County Landfill in Newark.