Trash controversy continues

TV Hagenah

County Commissioners are still talking trash at their meetings. As they met Monday, ten different individuals from rural Quay County were in attendance to state that they were not enthused with the way the county government is going “private” with their trash pick up.

Most of the rural residents in attendance at the meeting had discovered that they would no longer have community dumpsters in which to deposit their trash when they went to the dump sites late last week to drop off their trash and saw signs which stated that on the following Thursday, Sept. 23, no trash would be accepted at the sites and the dumpsters would be removed.

Others in attendance had received letters from the county stating the same message and listing possible companies who would be interested in doing trash pickups privately for roughly $30 per month. Quay County has been charging $5 per quarter for the same service. “We just can’t afford to keep doing it,” said commissioner Franklin McCasland stating that clean up at the sites added additional expense to the county.

McCasland said that the county picking up the trash was costing the county roughly $200,000 per year. He also pointed out that only one other county in New Mexico continues to haul solid waste as Quay County does.
“And they’re trying to get out,” said McCasland.
Most vocal critic of the county getting out of collecting trash was Doyle Frasier who said he had been contacted by a number of different individuals who were upset by the potential situation.

“I know it’s not a paying proposition,” said Frasier, “but I suggest you raise rates and enforce them.”
McCasland explained that the problem was that the county had no way of forcing people to pay the fees to the county other than putting a lien on their property which, at least in the short run, was something of an empty threat.
Frasier said that not much of an attempt had actually been done to collect the fees that were owed to the county government pointing out that most people had only received a single bill in the last three years.

Frasier also said that the $30 per month fee would be especially hard on the elderly and other people on fixed incomes. Commissioners explained that even if the county continued in the trash collecting business, they would have to charge roughly the same amount to keep from going broke. House Mayor Sherman Martin said he understood the problems facing the county of operating in the red, but added that the problem facing many people in the county at this time was the fixed income situation and the inability to find sufficient dumpsters by the Sept. 23 deadline and asked the commissioners if it would be possible to move back the deadline a bit.

Commissioners, City Manager Terry Turner and City Clerk Jeannette Maddaford conferred and found that moving the conversion date to private collections back to Oct. 1 was not only possible, but preferable on a number of fronts.
The commissioners voted to make the official date for transition to private companies Oct. 1.