The Taos Regional Landfill Board will meet July 16 to discuss the future of recycling.Members of the board were given the results of an analytical survey done by Souder …
The Taos Regional Landfill Board will meet July 16 to discuss the future of recycling.
Members of the board were given the results of an analytical survey done by Souder Miller and Associates looking at the operations and expenses of both the landfill and the Taos Recycling Center.
Based on the findings in the survey, Taos County and surrounding areas could be looking at an increase in landfill rates and charging county residents for recycling services, if the board approves.
"It looked pretty promising for everything and we've known we need to do a rate increase," said landfill board chairman Russell Church.
Members of the board are collecting the numbers of their customers to determine a potential increase amount, according to Church. The board will have to vote on an increase.
According to Taos town councilor George "Fritz" Hahn, who represents the town on the board, the study suggested a number of changes for the landfill and recycling center.
The analysis recommends an increase in the fee landfill customers pay and also calls for Taos County residents to pay for recycling. Currently only Taos residents pay a recycling fee.
"I'm hoping that the rate increase is approved and that recycling fee is approved," Hahn said. "But if they're not approved, it could be that the board decides simply to close recycling."
The increases would be minimal, and Hahn estimated an increase of less than a dollar on a monthly bill for Taos residents.
Church said the rate increases would help the board pay for needed equipment at both the recycling center as well as the Taos Regional Landfill and would assist in operations costs.
"Right now we are working with equipment that needs to be replaced and we can't afford to replace it," Church said.
Some of the needed replacement equipment can run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and is used on a daily basis such as the compactor as well as a road scraper.
The analysis also suggested a fixed annual rate increase on monthly bills for customers. If approved, this would allow the board to gradually increase funds to match the rising costs associated with operations at both centers.
According to Church, the board's only option to cut costs further at the Taos Regional Landfill would be to reduce the hours when it is open, a decision he said the board would likely not wish to take.
"The board doesn't want to go there," Church said. "We're operating pretty slim right now as it is and we had to take some drastic steps during COVID-19."
Board members will discuss and possibly vote on the possible increases during the July 16 meeting.
Hahn said he did not think recycling would be in jeopardy of being cut but added it was unlikely that glass or plastic recycling would return anytime soon.
The Taos Regional Landfill Board is made up of elected officials from Taos County, the town of Taos, Taos Ski Valley, Eagle Nest, Red River and Angel Fire. The board voted to take over the financial aspect of the Taos Recycling Center at the beginning of 2020 following discussions and requests for financial assistance from the town of Taos.
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