Commission concerned about trash dumping

By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun

As the city of Tucumcari awaits approval on a new landfill, the outlying communities of Quay County are showing concerns that illegal trash dumping may turn into a problem beyond their reach.

Logan City Manager Larry Wallin addressed the problem to the Quay County commissioners during Friday’s regular meeting. With less landfill space available in Tucumcari’s landfill, Wallin said charges consequently go up.

The problem, Wallin said, is the city has methods for ensuring citizens pay charges like shutting off a resident’s water. The county, meanwhile, has little means to collect trash pickup payments.

“If we keep raising rates,” Wallin said, “people are going to throw (trash) in the county, and that’s a problem for everybody.”

Too often, Wallin said, he’ll see a truck come into Logan with garbage filling the truck bed. A few hours later, those same trucks leave Logan with no sign of the garbage.

In those cases, Logan’s only course of action is to find the garbage and hope the trash contains some way to trace it back to the person who dumped it. In either case, Wallin said, Logan taxpayers have to eventually cover the costs of cleaning that garbage and taking it to the Tucumcari landfill.

County Manager Terry Turner said illegal dumping was a problem for the county, but a big part of the problem was an inability to collect adequate money for trash pickup. Turner said the county can put liens on property when people don’t pay for county trash dumpsters, but it doesn’t make much of an impact if the property owners have no intention of ever selling it.

Commissioners also discussed privatizing trash pickup, but said that might raise pickup rates even more because a private company would be interested in earning a profit.

Chairman Franklin McCasland said he wasn’t sure what the solution was, but that he would be happy to schedule a discussion with Logan citizens to find a feasible solution.

In other business:

• A special meeting was set for 10 a.m. June 9 for the canvassing of the June 6 primary elections. State law requires canvassing be done three days after the election. In previous years, the commission has moved the entire meeting to accommodate canvassing, but commissioners had already scheduled the third and final public hearing for the Montoya Subdivision during the meeting scheduled for June 12.

• Turner acknowledged cost-cutting efforts from County Road Superintendent Larry Moore. Turner said the county had budgeted approximately $388,000 for the upcoming year for the road department, but would probably not need to use any of it due to Moore saving $200,000 from the 2005-06 budget. That money, Turner said, went back into the county’s general fund.

“All of the things Larry’s implemented in fuel saving, quality control, you name it … I knew it was going to show up somewhere,” Turner said. “It showed up in the budget.”

• Commissioners approved County Assessor Janie Murray as the county’s representative for the New Mexico Association of Counties. McCasland resigned the position earlier in the month.

• Five financial resolutions were passed — two budget adjustments to reflect auctioned items sold, two for state reimbursements and another financial adjustment to even out a budget item while the county waits for the proceeds of a loan agreement with the state finance authority.