SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s the heart of Santa Fe where people love to gather and take in the beautiful scenery of historic churches, art galleries, and handmade jewelry. The plaza is not looking the same right now, as trash piles up. and the city says the pandemic is making it harder for them to clean up.
The Santa Fe Plaza, “It’s a point of interest whether the town is open or not,” says local business owner Germaine Gomez. As visitors pop in the newly reopened small businesses or enjoy their take-out orders outside, “You end up with a sudden overflowing of trash on the plaza and then some on the park,” says Mayor Alan Webber.
Local business owner Germaine Gomez says she was waiting for a to-go order when she noticed eyesores all over the plaza. “You could see from whatever corner you were standing on all of them were overflowing. It was just disappointing to see because the plaza is usually such a beautiful place our guests, as well as our local people, like to go down there and just visit and hang out,” Gomez says.
Mayor Webber says this is just one of the consequences of the city’s furloughs. As they brace for a $100 million shortfall in the next fiscal year’s budget, they don’t have as many workers cleaning up the city. “And so we’ve got to simultaneously save money and reallocate people to take care of some of the issues that crop up,” Webber says.
That could mean the community will have to pitch in. “Maybe what we’ll need is to adopt some pack it in pack it out behaviors as if you are in state park,” Webber says.
“We’d be happy to join efforts with anybody to keep our community safe, to keep it clean. But at the same time we want our officials who are elected to take pride in our city as well,” Gomez says.
As crews try to keep up, the city hopes people will be patient. “There is going to be an element of recognition that the city has a very serious budget deficit and we have to reset some expectations,” Webber says. After Gomez posted the photo, a group of volunteers cleared out the overflowing trash cans.
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