COUNTY COMMISSION TO CONSIDER NEW SOLID-WASTE ORDINANCE, FEE STRUCTURE

COUNTY COMMISSION TO CONSIDER NEW SOLID-WASTE ORDINANCE, FEE STRUCTURE

At its July 27 meeting, the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners will discuss implementation of a solid-waste plan by which property owners in unincorporated areas of the county will be assessed a monthly fee of $12 for each single-family residence on their property or properties.

Residents who contract with private haulers for weekly, curbside trash pick-up would be exempted from paying the fee.

The commercial haulers will, under the plan, be assessed a franchise fee based on the number of residences served. This fee will go toward maintaining county roads used by heavy trash-hauling vehicles.

The fee system for residents without trash-hauling service is being proposed as an alternative to the present process of requiring all residents to purchase coupons to use the county’s eight convenience stations. In addition to providing funds with which to maintain operations at the convenience stations, proceeds from the fees also would be used to hire more codes-enforcement officers and to crack down on illegal dumping in the county.

Although the county initially projects annual revenues of about $2.2 million from a fee-based system, that amount could fluctuate, depending on the number of residents who eventually opt to contract for curbside waste service from any of the county’s licensed private haulers.

Doña Ana County’s general fund currently subsidizes solid-waste operations to the tune of about $1.6 million each year. Under the new proposal, the county would eliminate the subsidy and use these funds for environmental programs, road improvements, stepped-up law enforcement and other programs.
Under an agreement with the county’s private haulers, county staff will be able to merge databases in such a way that the county will be able to track which accounts should be billed and which should be granted exemptions from billing by virtue of private-hauling contracts.

County staff also will put before the commission a new solid-waste ordinance that will use state standards for residential and commercial hauling and will allow for a streamlined process to prosecute illegal dumping. The commission will be asked to place the proposed new ordinance up for a public review process that will culminate in a public hearing later this summer. The commission, however, has indicated a desire to hear residents’ input about the fee-based proposal in the weeks leading up to the proposed hearing date.

Should the commission approve the plan, a projected start-up date would be in January of 2000.