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The rate Roanoke, Vinton and Roanoke County pay for dumping trash may go up by $2 per ton.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
The price of dumping trash at the regional landfill could be headed up for the first time in a decade, adding about 20 cents a month to the cost of handling trash from each household in Roanoke, Roanoke County and Vinton.
The Roanoke Valley Resource Authority board proposed a $2 per ton increase in the tipping fee charged the three communities, boosting the charge to $47 per ton.
The rate has been $45 a ton since 2003.
“It’s really been costing up to $50 a ton for some time now,” said Daniel Miles, the authority’s chief executive officer.
Basically, the authority has managed to cover the gap by digging into its reserve funds — the money it sets aside to buy equipment, finance future development of the landfill and handle any surprise problems that come up in handling a landfill .
But those funds are running low.
And the authority, which needs to tap them to begin replacing aging rail cars in about four years’ time, is worried.
The need to keep reserves up even as it makes those purchases, along with a likely continued rise in operating expenses, will probably boost the per-ton cost of handling the localities’ trash to $55 a ton by the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017, Miles said. The authority’s biggest operating cost, its more than $2 million-a-year freight bill from Norfolk Southern, has been on the rise because of a fuel surcharge.
“You can’t live off your fund balance, which is what we’ve been doing now for a decade,” said board member Chris Lawrence, Vinton’s town manager.
Board member Suzie Snyder said she thought it made sense to gradually phase in the fee increases needed to reach the $55-a-ton level by 2017.
“That’s the way I do my budget,” she said.
The board’s proposal to increase the fees must still go before the Roanoke and Vinton councils and the Roanoke County board of supervisors. If they agree, the board would have to hold a public hearing and formally adopt the increase before it would take effect.
In other business, the authority is dropping its proposal to build a sewer line along Highland Road in southern Roanoke County to carry water leaching from the old Rutrough Road landfill. That proposal had upset residents on Highland.
Instead, the authority will work on a route running along Rutrough Road itself, piggybacking on a proposed water line the Western Virginia Water Authority wants to build.
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