SPSA proposes big jump in tipping fee

Published 8:37 am Friday, January 9, 2009

CHESAPEAKE — The Southeastern Public Service Authority board voted on Wednesday to increase tipping fees for member communities from $104 a ton to $245 a ton.

By a 6-2 vote, the SPSA board moved to advertise its intentions to raise the tipping fee. A public hearing on the increase is set for 9:30 a.m. Jan. 28 at SPSA’s offices in Chesapeake.

Chesapeake and Portsmouth cast the two dissenting votes. Franklin, Southampton County and Isle of Wight County voted in favor of the increase.

Barry Cheatham, a Franklin city councilman who represents the city on SPSA’s board, said the tipping fee increase would translate to an increase of $20 to $23 on city residents’ monthly garbage bills.

Southampton County pays its tipping fees through its general fund, according to the county administrator there.

Attempts to reach Isle of Wight representatives on the SPSA board were unsuccessful.

The higher tipping fee would not become official until after the public hearing and must be formally approved by the board. If approved, the new rate would take effect on Feb. 1.

The fee increase is in response to a $14 million budget shortfall for the authority’s current fiscal year, which ends June 30. In a written statement, SPSA blamed the shortfall on “substantial reductions in the tons of waste received.”

“This is a very difficult, but necessary, step to keep (the) authority fiscally solvent,” SPSA Executive Director Rowland “Bucky” Taylor said in the statement. “We have reduced costs by more than $2 million this fiscal year, and will continue to look for further reductions in this and next year’s budgets as well.”

SPSA also announced a reduction in the tipping fee for construction and demolition debris to $22 a ton.