county can offer financial support to the Solid Waste Authority | New

At the special meeting of Rio Arriba County Commissioners on October 7, County Executive Lucia Sanchez asked the council to consider helping the North Central Solid Waste Authority with its current financial difficulties.

“We, the county, will provide financial support to North Central Solid Waste for operations for the next 90 days. This will give us enough time to assess our role in (the joint powers agreement) and our role in the authority in the future. We will continue to provide available personnel and vehicles,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez said the city of Española’s plan to bring sanitation services back as its own department is still unknown, and it’s unclear how they will accomplish that effort outside of the joint powers agreement.

Española did not leave the joint powers agreement as a date and plans to work out a deal in which the city is allowed to use the Alcalde transfer station.

“Regionalization and cooperation within entities has always been more beneficial than for people to go it alone. Funders want to see people collaborate, and so we will continue to collaborate until we understand that it may not be in the best interest of the county. Ultimately, it will be your decision whether we stay with authority,” Sanchez said.

On Tuesday, the authority will hold a board meeting in which Sanchez intends to request a solvency plan within 60 days of the meeting, a business plan, a management plan and an infrastructure plan accompanied by an inventory of assets. Calling the authority’s recent approved salary increase for its field workers “much needed,” Sanchez also wants information about the authority’s staff, including how it is funded and how potential employees are reached. In terms of future improvements, she suggested that an education awareness component be added to the authority as well as recycling and composting plans.

Sanchez said the county had been helping the authority for a long time now and hadn’t felt the effect of its failures until the equipment was no longer able to drive on private roads partly due to problems with equipment and workers driving the vehicles.

“When North Central Solid Waste sent out the notice of route changes due to understaffing and equipment failure … it alarmed a lot of people and it disrupted services. So it created a lot of changes, but we’ve been doing it for months. We provided trucks, vehicles, public works, our EMS fire department and county volunteers,” she said.

The commissioners will hold another special meeting on Tuesday where they plan to discuss the authority’s emergency funding request with the New Mexico State Board of Finance.

At Tuesday’s special meeting of North Central Solid Waste Authority board members, an action item listed is discussion and possible action to have the county reimburse the authority for services.

Also at the October 7 commissioners’ meeting, a resolution was passed that designated “an alternate polling station for Ward 60 of Santa Clara Pueblo for the 2022 general election.”

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