Farmington moves forward on trash rate increase

Brett Berntsen
Jennifer Malone carries her recyclables to to a bin Monday at the Waste Management Recycling Center in Farmington,

FARMINGTON — The City Council today moved forward on a proposed ordinance amendment that would increase trash rates from $15.20 to $15.88 per month.

Councilors voted unanimously to publish the proposed changes, which will be the subject of public comment at the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 26.

In a phone interview on Monday, Public Works Director David Sypher said the slight rate hike is still a good deal for residents, considering the recent increase in the cost to recycle. Low oil prices have made it cheaper to create new materials such as plastic, rather than repurpose used products, he said.

Farmington residents pay for curbside recycling services in their monthly trash bill, even if they don't participate. Interested households must request a recycling container, and Sypher said 52 percent of city residents have signed up for the service since it began in 2008.

Sarah Pierpont, the interim executive director of the New Mexico Recycling Coalition, said it can be difficult to promote recycling in areas like Farmington that have large numbers of multi-unit housing complexes such as mobile home parks or apartment buildings.

“It just depends on who the manager is and what they decide to do,” Pierpont said.

City code states that multi-unit residences can receive recycling bins for no extra charge if it’s determined to be in the best interest of the city and the customers.

Mayor Tommy Roberts, in an interview prior to today’s meeting, said the city is looking into ways to increase awareness of the recycling program in apartment complexes and mobile home parks.

“I understand that it’s a challenge, but I’ve heard discussion on ways to make it easier for those residents,” he said. “I think we still have some more studies to do on that.”

Brett Berntsen covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606.