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.