Unhappy about new charges they face Jan. 1 for garbage disposal, about 60 Cattaraugus County residents turned out for a public hearing Wednesday to tell legislators their taxes should cover the costs instead.
The refuse user fees will require people to pay $1 per 30-gallon bag of garbage they take to transfer stations.
Residents whose garbage is collected by private firms will be paying increased rates because those haulers will have to pay the county $51.75 a ton to dump at transfer stations.
The hearing was held on amending the rate charge from cubic yards to tons at the request of haulers. "No one is speaking out for businesses and what it costs us to operate," businessman George Siafaks of Kill Buck pointed out. "Why don't you just add the fee onto our taxes? Why have a tax and a fee too?"
Olean Alderman John P. Capito said his city will have a difficult time "coming up with $200,000 in tipping fees. It's going to knock the hell out of us and increase taxes $5 to 6 a thousand."
"Some people can't afford to pay a $1 a bag to dump," said John Ostergard of Olean. "More people will be dumping along the roads and who's going to clean it up?" Legislators directed questions to Rickey M. Johnson, public works commissioner, who replied that a sheriff's deputy will be policing illegal dumping. He also defended the new fee. "One of the reasons for the fee system is to encourage recycling. Another reason was to transfer costs off taxpayers to people who generate solid waste."
User fee tickets go into effect Jan. 1.
Fees are 50 cents for a 15-gallon bag, $1 per 30-gallon bag, $2 per miscellaneous item, such as a sofa, mattress, television; $6 per uncompacted cubic yard.
A pickup truck will hold about 3 cubic yards.