Comments were scarce Tuesday night at a Town Board hearing on whether Southold should require garbage haulers to obtain a town permit.
The board closed the public hearing but tabled the resolution that would have given the town the authority to issue permits.
Ron Fisher, brother and business partner of Frank Fisher, who owns Go-Green Sanitation in Flanders, asked several pointed questions about the details of the new permits.
The permits would cost $5 and be issued by the Southold Town Clerk’s office. Go-Green was recently ticketed by the town for picking up trash that had not been separated. The company has since announced it will comply with state and local recycling requirements.
Mr. Fisher’s primary complaint was that the town is maintaining the requirement that refuse collected by private carters must be placed in Southold Town’s yellow garbage bags, even if the carter is taking the garbage out of town, as Go-Green does.
Town officials have long maintained that state law requires garbage to be separated at the source, and the town is required to enforce that regulation. That’s one reason the town plans ultimately to institute carter permits, which would also require garbage haulers to adhere to the state and local rules. Many Long Island towns require carters to obtain a local permit.
Go-Green sent a flier to its customers this week notifying them that they will now have to sort out recyclables, which will be picked up by a separate truck.
Supervisor Scott Russell said at Tuesday’s hearing that the town still plans to examine whether it can change the yellow bag regulations. He added that this question is separate from the carter permits issue. He said he is currently discussing changing the yellow bag program with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Mr. Russell said the town is also reexamining every aspect of its approach to solid waste disposal, including potential gasification of garbage to create electricity, which could make the yellow bag issue moot.
“I think this is a work in progress,” he said.
Mr. Fisher, however, said the yellow bag law is selectively enforced by the town.
He also said that very few towns on Long Island require carter permits for residential garbage collection. In response, Town Board members and solid waste district coordinator Jim Bunchuck said Southold is one of the very few on Long Island that doesn’t already have a residential carter permit requirement.
Mr. Fisher was also concerned that carters will now be required to give the town a list of the number and type of their customers. The proposed law initially required that the carters submit customers’ names to the town, but that provision has since been removed.