Solid Waste Department asking city council to approve rate hike

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque homeowners could soon see their trash and recycling bill go up. Mayor Tim Keller’s administration is asking city council to approve a rate hike starting January 1, 2021.

In the FY 2021 budget proposal, the city’s Solid Waste Management Department is asking for a $1.55 per month rate increase for residential property owners’ trash and recycling pick-up.

“This rate increase would do so much for all the residents and all the customers here in Albuquerque because it will allow us not only to continue the level of service that we’ve always been offering to the people of Albuquerque but we can continue to increase our recycling program,” Matthew Whelan, Director of CABQ Solid Waste Management Department, said.

He said the rate increase for the remainder of the year would give the department about $1.6 million. The money would be used to help the department in the financial challenges it’s facing and help it keep up with a growing city.

“Our Clean Cities Division also does all the medians throughout the city on every major thoroughfare, every major roadway. And as the city continues to expand, we add more medians. So as more medians are added, that’s more acreage that we have to take care of,” Whelan said.

The Solid Waste director and Mayor Keller talked about the financial challenges the department is facing in a press conference a few weeks ago. The department said changes in China’s importing guidelines has drastically increased the cost of recycling. According to Whelan, the city’s cost for recycling shot up from $350,000 in 2017 to $3.5 million this year.

The pandemic is also posing financial challenges. According to Whelan, demand for residential services and a decrease in commercial pick-ups has resulted in about $1.6 million in revenue loss.

The department is also requesting a change to rate ordinance legislation to allow the department to up commercial pick-up costs up to 5% annually.

“Now, that doesn’t we would do it, that doesn’t mean we’re going to do it, it means when we do our cost of service, if our cost of service says this one rate needs to be adjusted by 1% then we can do that. And that’s simply because of the uncertainty of the business in the commercial industry right now,” Whelan said.

The Solid Waste Management Department will be presenting its portion of the budget proposal, which includes the proposed rate hike, to the city council on October 8.

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