commissioners debated options for the Hoods Mill Landfill in open session on Tuesday before deciding to stick with the plan to close the landfill, located in Woodbine, on July 1 of this year.
During the budget process, the board decided to close the landfill because a $250,000 investment was required to continue operations.
The $250,000 is for a new roof and a new front loader. Hoods Mill costs approximately $46,000 a year to operate, according to Department of Public Works deputy director Jeff Topper.
Commissioner Richard Rothschild argued for the board to explore ways to keep the landfill open.
Rothschild said he is concerned that the board doesn’t know the impact this closure would have on the Northern Landfill and the board is unsure if the decision to close Hoods Mill can be reversed at a later time.
The , located on Rt. 140 in Westminster, is the only other operational landfill in the county. It is open Monday through Saturday.
Commissioner Doug Howard suggested suspending operations at Hoods Mill for 60 days to gauge the impact on the Northern Landfill.
“If the end of the world happens, we open it up again,” Howard said.
Topper said that on average, the Northern Landfill sees about 700 vehicles on a Saturday while Hoods Mill sees about 300 vehicles. Hoods Mill is only open on Saturdays and accepts trash and recycling.
Rothschild said that he has heard from constituents who want the landfill to stay open. He said people have suggested keeping the facility open on a more limited basis or charging more for people to use it.
“I think the general sense is that it’s still more desirable to have something at a higher fee than to drive 20 miles to Northern Landfill,” Rothschild said.
Commissioner Dave Roush responded, “Somehow folks from Taneytown and Union Bridge still find ways to dispose of trash."
Commissioner Robin Bartlett-Frazier said she would support keeping the landfill open if it could pay for itself. She said she would like the county to explore the option of a private company leasing the site and taking over the services.
Topper reminded the commissioners that regardless of who is operating the landfill, a new roof will be necessary due to Maryland Department of the Environment requirements.
The commissioners asked staff to reach out to trash companies to see if there is an interest in a private company providing a trash drop off point in that area. Additionally, the board wants to know if there is an option to re-open the landfill once they close it.
At the end of the discussion, the commissioners confirmed that the plan to close Hoods Mill Landfill on July 1 is still in place.
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