City residents and businesses should prepare for a possible rise in their garbage collection costs.

The Santa Fe City Council is poised at its meeting Wednesday to schedule a public hearing on a proposal to increase fees for trash-hauling services, the first rate hike since 2016.

Shirlene Sitton, director of the city’s Environmental Services Division, could not be reached for comment on the proposal. According to a city memo on the potential change, the rates would increase:

• Residential collection would rise from $15.75 to $19.25 per month.

• Residential bag tags would rise from $7.50 to $15 per sheet of five.

• Residential large items would rise from $33.33 to $50 for up to 8 cubic yards.

• Commercial front load rates would rise 7 percent.

• Commercial rear load would rise 5 percent.



The memo said the city Public Utilities Department conducts a yearly status review of rate revenue to determine if it has the necessary funding to deliver on services.

The Environmental Services Division last increased its rates almost six years ago on July 1, 2016. According to the city, it has some of the lowest garbage collection rates in New Mexico, with the proposed increase placing Santa Fe residents in the middle of the pack statewide. Las Cruces has the lowest residential collection rate in New Mexico, at $15.25, while Roswell has the highest at $30.01 per month.

NewGen, the company that completed the Environmental Services Division’s cost-of-service study, reported a loss in revenue for the division, prompting the need for the rate increase.

The memo noted the Santa Fe Solid Waste Management Agency has increased landfill use fees charged to the city. In February, the agency agreed to a plan to increase its rates over a five-year period. The rate changes went into effect in October.

The Environmental Services Division would be short $2.5 million to $3.5 million over five years without an increase in garbage collection rates for city customers, according to a report.

A fiscal impact analysis said the rate increases would generate an additional $1.5 million from residential trash hauling in fiscal year 2023, when the rates are in effect for a full year. The city would receive nearly $2 million more from commercial hauling.

The division also has fallen behind on its truck replacement plan due to COVID-19, according to city documents. The price tags for those trucks have ballooned due to steel costs and supply chain concerns.

If approved by the council during a public hearing Feb. 9, the rate changes would take effect March 1.

(11) comments

Paula Federici

This city management needs to learn how to budget. We are paying huge amounts to the water company for improvements that were never done. The surplus in funds is who knows where. Our city is filthy with a higher crime rate than ever before. City council wake up and do your job without hurting the citizens.

Brad Doubles

One would have to search far and wide to find a more deserving populace of the non stop cost increase mentality in Fanta Se. You deserve the government you vote for.....suck it up

Sandra Bayes

As a senior I do not need to put my trash and garbage out every week because I simply do not have the amount of trash to use the service every week. In addition I compost all food scrapes so I feel like I’m overpaying as collection currently stands. I’m sure I’m not the only one who fits this customer description. It would be great if we could opt out of this service!

Scott Smart

No, at least until they get their accounting and audit issues fixed

Joe Brownrigg

I realize it is a separate department, but our city Water Department has been hit several times to supplement the city budget. Has this every been paid back?

Couldn't the excess water funds be used to supplement the garbage service? They're both a part of the city!!

JJ Set

Do a quick review of the SOFTWARE used for billing. See if this Division is using the $15million 2015 billing. Bet not. This former City Mgr didn't enforce Training to the upper Management, and finance funds to train staff on the new 2015 software, that appears on our monthly bills. They use a 20 year old Firefly software to do this and that work. Bills never match audits, and management can't even pull reports. Think twice about the ability to avoid accurate reporting to US, as the City owns this service. 2017 ABQ CPA audits of the City of Santa Fe has 27 notes on this Division and it's use of the OLD system still in use. The re-elected Mayor, City Councilors, and Division Managers have had free rein since and before that ABQ CPA audit on the city divisions. And done nothing to enforce the use of all of aspects of the Beacon $15million dollar billing and report drawing system. Think about auditing the division before raising our costs. It's an Official job Mr. Mayor. Yours isn't it?

Angel Ortiz

We rarely experience issues with our trash pick up. Very timely and they do a great job. No, we don't live in the 87508 zip code....just in case inquiring minds want to know.

Mark Specter

The fees we're paying are already too much considering the trash and recycling trucks either fail to empty receptacles or let trash fly all over the street when dumping. Also, let us recycle glass from home. Then we can talk about fee increases.

Stefanie Beninato

[thumbup][thumbup] And why are we not in the "middle of the pack" for managerial salaries--my understanding is that Santa Fe pays much more for a city manager per inhabitant than other cities in our state.

Emily Koyama

Santa Fe also has many more employees per capita than any other city in the state.

Their response is, "yeah, but we have to deal with all these tourists". My response is; "yeah, but tourists are a cash cow (GRT and lodgers tax revenue, etc), so you have plenty of money."

But they keep coming back to the trough for more, fleecing the residents, and you keep electing people who do more of the same.....

William Gruber

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

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