The tipping fee at the landfill will increase by at least 25 percent, beginning in March.

At their Jan. 2 meeting, Solid Waste Director Fonda Davis told county commissioners the county received only a single response to a request for bids to operate the solid waste transfer station at the county landfill. He said that after he requested a bid from Waste Pro of Midway because it had bid on the contract in the past, the company replied they were not interested in the contract.

Davis said Waste Management, Inc. of Panama City, which currently holds the contract to operate the station, bid $57.95 per ton of waste. This is about a 25 percent increase over the $46.29 per ton fee charged by Waste Management for the last five years.

The board voted unanimously for Davis and his staff to continue negotiations with Waste Management, in hopes of getting the company to lower its fees.

Waste Management disposes of household waste, but not recyclables or construction waste, for the county. The county currently charges a tipping fee of $46.55 per ton to accept household waste. The difference between this and what the county has to pay for disposal, 26 cents per ton, partially pays for the operation of the landfill. A representative of the Clerk of Courts office said the current fee does not totally cover the cost of operating the landfill even with additional revenue from recycling and construction waste.

Waste Managementís current agreement with the county ends on March 10.

The county had the option to extend the current contract with Waste Management for five additional years. At the Oct. 16, 2012 meeting, Davis asked the commissioners for permission to negotiate to extend the contract but commissioners voted unanimously to terminate Waste Managementís agreement and request bids because the county was losing money on landfill operations.

In a telephone interview, Davis said Waste Management could have increased rates even if the contract had been extended.

He said the change initially will affect only the landfill tipping fee, but it could also eventually drive up commercial and residential garbage fees in Apalachicola and other parts of the county.