YOUNGSTOWN - Increased awareness and waste recycling may be part of the reason that landfills are seeing less revenue and fewer funds to spend on inspections.
A revised five-year plan released recently by the Mahoning County Solid Waste District anticipates decreasing revenues from county landfills and calls for a decrease in funding for inspections of well testing at landfills.
Jim Petuch, head of the solid waste district, said the amount to be funded for inspections will go from $400,000 to $300,000 if the district's Policy Committee approves the revision to the plan.
Petuch said the $300,000 is enough to cover inspections. He said the state mandates testing at landfills but the county goes beyond state minimum standards and will continue to do so if the revised plan is approved.
A public hearing is set for Oct. 16 at the Covelli Centre as required by law. The hearing will precede the committee's vote on the revised plan. If approved, it will go into effect next June.
Officials said the landfills are seeing less in tipping fees because more people are recycling, which is driving down the amount of trash hauled to landfills.
The amount of tipping fees collected by the solid waste district has decreased from $3.58 million in 2003 to $2.83 million in 2011.
The district does get some other money from state grants but the majority comes from the fees, Petuch said.
''We are dependent on landfill fees,'' Petuch said.
One of the things he and his staff looked at when compiling the plan is what services are mandated and what are not mandated, in order to maximize fees that are coming in in the future, Petuch said.
''We'll have to reduce some non-mandated services,'' Petuch said.
Petuch stressed that he thinks the inspections are important and enough will still be carried on, but with less money coming in there has to be some sort of compromise.
''It's important to fund but we have to compromise,'' Petuch said.
The current plan the district is revising expires in 2027.