County looks for way out of trash

TV Hagenah

Quay County is looking at getting out of the trash business. At Monday’s meeting of the Quay County Commission, commissioners and Quay County Manager Terry Turner discussed the problems that have come to the county with handling trash pick up and providing trash drop off for county residents.

County commissioners pointed to a number of situations that have arisen that they feel is not only embarrassing to the county but also costs the county needed money. Commissioner Jeff Lewalling pointed to the aesthetic and economic aspects of some of the county dumpsters located around Tucumcari in particular. He said recently he observed the dump site near the Tucumcari Convention Center, and it was over-flowing with trash which is hardly a recommendation of the area to people, especially outsiders, using the convention center or fairgrounds and seeing the unsightly trash.

Lewalling further said that he believes that the trash which regularly finds itself in those dumpsters did not just come from non-city residents as it is supposed to be. He said there are indications that some city residents may be using the county dump sites to avoid paying fees for trash in the city. He also pointed out that Tucumcari residents may not be aware that they are not supposed to use the county dumping bins. Whatever the reason, said Lewalling, “what it comes down to is the county is paying the city to dump city trash in the dump.”

County Commissioner Franklin McCasland said it was frustrating to him that the county has little recourse in enforcing the fees charged county residents for trash hauling. “The city can cut off their water if they don’t pay,” said McCasland. We don’t have that option. What can we do?” McCasland also pointed out that if the county raised rates for solid waste costs that would merely mean that a percentage would be footing a bigger amount of the costs of handling solid waste disposal.
Quay County Manager Turner said he agreed with both Lewalling and McCasland as to desirability of possibly finding someone else to handle the trash pick up and hauling in the county.

“We are one of only three counties in the state who still handle solid waste,” said Turner. “Every other county has someone else handling it. We are one of only three counties.”Commissioner Grace Madrid said while her fellow commissioners and county manager Turner made good arguments for farming out the handling of solid wastes she felt it was something that should be further researched and the state should be consulted regarding switching over to a private vendor to handle the waste.
“Let’s look into it some more before we make a decision,” said Madrid. “I especially feel we should check with the state on this.”