County Landfill Law Could Hurt Private Business

A new law being discussed by the Chautauqua County Legislature that would mandate that solid waste in Chautauqua County could only be taken to the Chautauqua County Landfill or one of the county transfer stations is a bad idea.

Right now, most of the waste generated in the county makes its way to the landfill. The new law wouldn’t have much impact on the county’s bottom line, but it could have an impact on private business.

Pierre Chagnon, R-Bemus Point, and Terry Niebel, R-Dunkirk, raised good questions about the proposal’s effect on pricing competition within the county. Fair market competition keeps prices as low as possible for consumers. The county’s solid waste flow control law could make it virtually impossible for a private business to enter the marketplace because there wouldn’t be enough trash left to make the business profitable. Without the private competition, what incentive does the county have to keep prices as low as possible?

Chautauqua County is located on a border with Pennsylvania. What happens if a Pennsylvania contractor were to have Chautauqua County clients whose trash was disposed of in Pennsylvania landfills? What happens if that service is less expensive than those residents making trips to the county landfill or waste transfer stations?

That’s not to say county officials would purposefully price gouge county residents. We’re pretty sure they wouldn’t. But the lack of possible competition is troublesome.

Besides, this type of law is reminiscent of something New York state would come up with — a law that creates a disincentive to create private sector jobs. Such meddlesome regulations have no place in Chautauqua County.