Commercial haulers may be charged a per ton fee to dispose of trash and area residents may face a hike in the cost of a dump sticker.

But, in exchange, residents would not be paying for dump operations through property taxes.

The Rockland City Council will decide during its spring budget process whether to overhaul how the city pays for dump operations.

The council has held two meetings in the past two months on the future of the solid waste facility and what revenues can be generated. The most recent meeting was March 15.

City Manager Rosemary Kulow said as a result of those meetings she will develop two separate budgets for the solid waste department. One would pay for operations largely from property taxes as has been the practice.

A second budget will be developed using per ton fees for commercial haulers and a sharply higher dump sticker cost. This would create what the city calls an enterprise fund that is paid for separately from property taxes, similar to what is done with the sewage treatment plant. The treatment plant is paid for largely through user fees based on the amount of wastewater that has to be treated.

The estimated per ton fee to commercial haulers would be $84 per ton to $111 per ton under the option that would have the solid waste operations paid for fully through user fees.

And dump stickers for residents would increase from the current $10 to a range of $51 to $68 per year. The city issues an estimated 2,590 dump stickers each year.

In six years, the city will face a “regulatory-driven” closure of the landfill at a cost of $2.5 million to $3 million. The city has set aside $280,126 for the closure. The city’s options include setting aside sufficient money each year to pay for that closure or borrowing the money when the time arrives to close the landfill.

When that landfill closes, the city will also lose $1 million a year in revenues that it now collects for demolition debris disposal. The current expenses for running the solid waste department are nearly $1.4 million annually.

After the closure of the landfill, the city will recycle some of the wastes now thrown there while the remainder will have to be sent out to an alternate landfill.

If the city waits to pay for the closure, the estimated cost of repayment of a $3 million loan will be an average of $229,000 a year.

The city manager is scheduled to present her proposed 2010-2011 budget to the City Council on April 21.