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Aug 17, 2011 9:38 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Garbage Carters Will Soon Need Permits In Southampton Town

Aug 17, 2011 2:32 PM

Southampton Town will soon charge garbage carters a fee to do business in the municipality, a response to new state mandates that require the town to keep closer tabs on its waste stream, though the exact cost of the program has not yet been determined.

Come next year, sanitation companies that pick up residential waste in the town will be required to purchase and comply with new town permits. The permitting system will allow town officials to track how much waste is being generated in specific parts of the town, as well as keep tabs on the total tonnage being collected from local businesses, according to Christine Fetten, the town’s director of facilities management.

The town is implementing the new system in order to get a better handle on its waste stream and recycling rates, as is required by the State Department of Environmental Conservation. The system, the start date for which has not yet been determined, will also help the town develop an educational campaign targeting areas that need to boost their recycling rates.

“We feel, right now, that we’ll be able to handle this inhouse, with our own staff, and not have to hire additional personnel to do this,” Ms. Fetten said. “But the goal of this permit and track system is going to be to get information on what is happening to the waste stream, where we can improve recycling and what our recycling rates really are. And to make sure that the private carters are doing the right thing as well.”

The Town Board committed to creating a permitting system when it adopted a recommendation made by its consulting firm, CDM, earlier this month to keep the operations at the town’s four transfer stations the same, while creating a permit and track system for private garbage haulers. How that will be accomplished—whether the data will be collected by the companies or the town—had not yet been determined.

Other details of the permitting system are still vague as well, as officials and stakeholders have barely discussed it, Ms. Fetten said. But she and Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi both agree that the state requirement is an “unfunded mandate,” and leaves open the possibility that levying a permit fee on the private sanitation companies could, in turn, drive up the cost for customers.

The DEC requirement stinks, Mr. Nuzzi said, and he also criticized Albany for financially constraining municipalities with its recently approved 2-percent tax cap that limits the town’s ability to raise its tax levy. “It’s ironic that in the face of a 2-percent tax cap passed by New York State, that they would also include additional unfunded mandates that the towns must abide by,” he said.

A DEC spokesman said in an e-mail this week that the state agency is not actually requiring towns to develop a permit and track system. “Planning units are required to provide us with data on how much solid waste is generated within their collection area,” wrote DEC spokesman Bill Fonda.

Town officials say the permit fees will not be exorbitant, though a report provided to the town by CDM states that if 12 private carters apply, each could be asked to pay about $7,000. The report does not clarify if it would be a one-time or annual fee.

Some town officials said the final figure should be much lower, with Mr. Nuzzi stating it should be “negligible” and just cover the cost of processing the paperwork. CDM also recommended that the town hire a new employee to process the permits and that the cost of the employee, approximately $85,000 as suggested by CDM, be shouldered by the private carters.

One individual in the solid waste business said he does not have a problem with the new requirements. Skip Norsic, the owner of Emil Norsic & Son Inc., a sanitation company that services East End residents, said it’s a good idea to regulate carters.

“There are carters out there that they have no names on the truck, [so we have] no idea where they’re dumping the truck,” he said. “It’s a big problem. A lot of one-truck operators are coming out here, and I think everything should be on an even field.”

And as for the information requirements, Mr. Norsic said he would have “no problems” with them.

Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming said that while she agrees that the DEC requirement is an unfunded mandate, she thinks the overall goal of tracking the town’s waste stream is an important one.

“We don’t have a choice,” she said. “We have to do it because the DEC is requiring it. My thought is that we do it well and really use the opportunity to understand what exactly the landscape is of solid waste within our borders so that we know what we’re contributing to landfills, how we might be able to reduce the waste stream, and how we might be able to enhance our recycling efforts.”

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Great Idea......This will be one way we keep the likes of people, Frank Fisher (illegal transfer station) from dumping other peoples trash in his backyard and keeping it out of a neighborhood in Flanders.
By The Crow's Nest (65), Red Creek on Aug 18, 11 2:21 PM
What is it with Nuzzi and the carters? First he wants no fees on them, and then if it has to be, he says it should be "negligible." If these guys are coming in here from who knows where the way Skip Norsic says, why not slam them?
Chris Nuzzi's complaining about this being an unfunded mandate, but he doesn't want to charge the fees permitted under the mandate. It doesn't add up, unless . . . .

Now Bridget Fleming, she says run with it as long as we have to anyway, and make it work ...more
By clam pie (161), Westhampton on Aug 18, 11 5:38 PM
They'll simply pass the new fees on to their clients.
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Aug 18, 11 6:08 PM
oh hello progressnow I mean fuax razza..... Hey everone could that be Mr Z in this picture???
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Aug 18, 11 9:12 PM
Sorry, I'm more versatile when it comes to sanitation...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 20, 11 5:17 PM
Oh hello Joe, I mean bigfresh . . I mean little razza, I mean - oh, who cares, you wingnuts are all interchangeable. Glad to see you missed me!
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Aug 23, 11 7:49 AM
Is this another way for them to keep tabs on people trying to make some money picking up the leaves they can't pick up since "the party is over", or does it only pertain to garbage/trash?
By foodwhiner (148), Southampton on Aug 19, 11 8:57 AM
its actually a tax which will indeed be passed onto the consumer.
By kaluss (113), Southampton on Aug 19, 11 10:49 AM
The DEC is an out of control, virtually omnipotent State agency that has no elected officials! You can't vote the bazztards out when they screw up or overstep their authority!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Aug 23, 11 6:51 AM
This will hurt small buisnesses that pay for commercial dumpsters in order to operate. Which in this tough economic time is the wrong end result. Figure out another way to recycle, don't create bulls*&t fees.
By unjustifiedjustice2 (35), East Quogue on Aug 23, 11 11:23 AM