NEW SOLID WASTE ORDINANCE TO TAKE EFFECT IN COUNTY
NEW SOLID WASTE ORDINANCE TO TAKE EFFECT IN COUNTY
The Doña Ana County Commission has enacted a new solid-waste ordinance, which is scheduled to take effect Sept. 1, 2000. Basically, property owners in the county’s outlying areas will have a choice: 1) Pay $12 each month to the county for each inhabited structure on each property you own, and receive unlimited use of the county’s convenience stations for disposal of solid waste from those properties; or 2) Contract with an approved, private hauler, and you will NOT have to pay the county fee, but you will still enjoy limited use of the county’s eight convenience stations.
Following are some of the most common questions pertaining to the program.
What does this ordinance do? The new ordinance is designed to make the county’s eight solid-waste convenience stations pay for themselves. Currently, the county pays about $1.2 million each year to operate these stations. By requiring users to pay a monthly fee to cover operational costs, the county can use its general fund money for other initiatives, including codes enforcement, litter clean-up projects and illegal-dumping prosecutions.
What are the fees and who pays them? The fees are assessed at $12 per month for property owners under the age of 65 who reside in or rent out structures in any unincorporated areas of the county. People over age 65 who reside in a structures they own in an unincorporated area of the county will pay only $9 each month for that structure, but they will pay $12 per month for structures they rent out to others, regardless of the age of the tenant(s). These costs can be passed on to renters at the owner’s discretion, but the structure owner is responsible for payment.
By paying these fees, am I contracting with the county to pick up my trash? No. Paying the fees simply allows you to continue to use the county’s eight solid-waste convenience stations. You must still haul your own trash to the stations, but you will no longer have to buy or use coupons in order to do so.
People in the city who pay monthly fees get their trash hauled away. Why are people in the county treated differently? Right now, every property owner in Doña Ana County is paying to subsidize the county’s eight solid-waste convenience stations. This means that city residents who pay a fee for their monthly garbage service also are paying to maintain the convenience stations that county residents use. They’re paying twice! The new fee structure keeps the solid-waste convenience stations open, but it places the responsibility for operating costs on the primary users. If the county were to implement a governmental trash pick-up service, the rates would be prohibitively high due to the amount of equipment that would have to be purchased and the number of miles that would have to be traveled. The system that has been adopted keeps private haulers in business and gives county residents the option of using convenience stations for which they are paying their fair share.
What if I don’t want to pay the fees? The only way to avoid responsibility for the county-imposed fees is to have a licensed, private hauler provide weekly curbside trash pickup for each inhabited structure you own in the unincorporated areas of the county. Approved private haulers who have franchised with the County are: Chaparral Disposal (505) 824-0887; Dominguez Disposal (505) 882-4644; El Paso Disposal (915) 772-7495; Gomez Hauling (505) 824-0735; Medina Garbage (505) 824-4314; Mesilla Valley Disposal (505) 647-0894; Miles Hauling Service (505) 524-8748; Salayandia & Son (505) 523-8089; Silva Sanitation (505) 233-2134; and Southwest Disposal (505) 524-8482. If you are considering private or commercial curbside service, you are encouraged to shop among these providers for cost and service options.
How will the county know whether I have private service? The county has entered into an agreement with the licensed private haulers in the area to provide address-based billing information each month. All addresses that show up as being serviced by licensed private haulers will be exempt from the county fees. Property owners of addresses not served by private haulers will receive bills.
What happens if I refuse to pay? The county has the legal authority to place liens on any property for which past-due billings are posted.
Where can I make payments? You may pay by cash, check or money order at the Doña Ana County Treasurer’s Office in the County Courthouse or at any branch of First Security Bank in Doña Ana County. You may also mail in payments by check or money order ONLY. (Please note: If you write a bad check, your account WILL be placed in arrears and your property will be subject to a tax lien.)
Why is the county imposing a flat fee when some people generate more trash than others? The Board of County Commissioners set a monthly fee designed to spread the cost as fairly as possible and also to make switching to a private hauler a reasonable option by which the fees can be avoided. The bottom line is that the operating costs of the convenience stations must be recouped by the county, and a flat fee is the most efficient manner by which to administer the program.
Are there any other cost-minimizing options available to county residents? Yes. One option to look into is a neighborhood commercial receptacle serviced by a private hauler. By sharing the cost of a large trash receptacle serviced by a licensed private hauler, clustered residents could share responsibility for a commercial account, the cost for which could be significantly less than paying for individual private service or the county fee. As long as your address comes up on the hauler’s billing records as having service, the county fee will not be imposed, regardless of whether you are using a communal commercial account or a private account. It is your responsibility, however, to make sure the licensed private hauler includes your address on the billing information provided to the county.
When will all this take effect? The implementation date is now scheduled for Sept. 1, 2000. Until that time, residents should continue to use the coupons available from local vendors to access the county’s eight solid-waste convenience stations.
What if I have other questions? Call the Doña Ana County Community Development Office at (505) 647-7477 (or toll-free at 1-877-827-7200 from outside Las Cruces and request Extension 7477).