BERNALILLO — Trash rates will increase at the Sandoval County Landfill, effective July 1.

The Sandoval County Commission voted 3 to 2 to raise the rates. Commissioners Katherine Bruch, District 1, and Kenneth Eichwald, District 5, voted no.

A tonnage rate increase of $1 will be implemented for loose trash from government to government, waste, green waste and concrete. Tonnage rates increasing over $1 include: Sludge-special handling, contaminated soil, appliances, televisions and tires. 

County Attorney Robin Hammer requested that rates would not be increased for collection centers.

Costs were increased in order to prepare for a new landfill in the future, including the creation of roads for said landfill, and funding for closing costs and aftercare of the current landfill.

According to the Municipal Solid Waste Cost of Service and Rate Design Study reported to the county in June, at current rates the landfill is projected to have sufficient space for 10 to 12 more years.

The report includes a $300,000 annual closure and aftercare cost with consideration to increasing inflation from each fiscal year 2020-23.

“It’s overall to benefit the county for this $1 a ton rate be increased,” Hammer said before the vote.

Hammer said not taking action will cost the county general fund $250,000-$800,000 per year.

“We can’t just keep doing what we are doing. If you compare our current rates, I think the cost of recovery is $17.50 and you compare us to Rio Rancho, for instance, it’s $41.30; San Juan County a public/private partnership is between $37-$38; Socorro is $29. And here we are talking about going from $29 to $30,” said Chairman David Heil, District 4.

Recovery means how much money it takes to collect and bury waste.

With the vote passing, contracts with Road Runner Waste System Inc. and Universal Waste Systems Inc. would have to be renegotiated.

Roadrunner pays $17.50 a ton for residential, and Universal pays $20 for outside-of-the-county pickups.

“If we fill the landfill up too fast with cheap rates, the only people we have to look to solve this problem are the taxpayers. So is someone making a big profit off of the back of the taxpayers? I think that’s a discussion we need to have,” Heil said.

Both companies asked at the commission meeting to postpone the vote and talk with them first before voting yes to a rate increase automatically prompting renegotiations.

With the vote passing, both companies are in re-negotiation of their contracts.

The next commission meeting will be Thursday at 6 p.m. in the county administration building.