Cortland County officials to waive IDA’s landfill tipping fees

The former APEX Tools manufacturing site on Garfield Street in the city of Cortland. (Photo Source: Kevin L. Smith of The Cortland Voice).

Cortland County Legislators voted 11-6 at Thursday’s meeting to waive $382,000 in tipping fees at the county landfill owed by the County’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA).

The IDA acquired the former APEX Tools manufacturing site after a previous owner demolished the site for scrap, leaving city of Cortland residents with what is known at the state level as a brownfield. The city then forgave $300,000 in taxes, but still plans to honor its property tax commitments to the county when the site is in full use for another development.

The IDA has hired contractors to dispose of materials left in the aftermath of the site’s dismantling. Since the bulk of the materials were disposed of at the county landfill, the IDA incurred $381,706.10 worth of tipping fees for the project. The landfill also accrued $4,628.74 worth of overtime expenses, since hours of operation at the landfill had to be extended to dispose of the materials. 

The resolution also states the IDA will pay the county for the overtime costs.

At Thursday’s meeting, Legislative Minority Leader Beau Harbin (D-LD-2) said facilitating the IDA’s ability to turn the property into an attractive industrial site or a housing development would be a net positive for the county’s future. He used Micron, the company building microchip manufacturing plants in Onondaga County, as an example of economic development he’d like to see in Cortland County.

“I’d like to see a robust and fully-funded IDA ready to meet the challenge of the 22nd century with Micron and the suppliers coming here,” he said. “This is an absolute plus for the city, county, and city-county relationships. The site is much better and provides a great opportunity for further development.”

Legislators Sandra Price (D-LD-14) and Paul Heider (R-LD-16) said they initially supported a measure that would temporarily suspend the payment of the tipping fees.

“I supported the IDA asking the county to just ‘pull the note’ on the tipping fees and we were all in agreement. I supported that,” Heider said. “I am a proponent of business and the IDA. The problem with bringing businesses here is — quite frankly — something the IDA and our employment folks bring forward to us at every vacancy meeting: we don’t have the people in cc to support new businesses. That is a shame.”