The city is facing a new deadline over what it will do with millions of dollars in funding for a now-scrapped trash transfer station.
It has been nearly a year since Mayor Tim Keller canceled plans for the proposed transfer station near an Albuquerque neighborhood at the city’s Solid Waste property along Edith near Montaño.
Facing a proposal to reduce garbage fees by Albuquerque City Councilor Brad Winter, the city is now promising a plan for its future garbage facilities in the next 30 days.
“I just want to make sure that money’s being used the way it should be used, and if they don’t need all that money, I don’t want it used for something else,” said Winter in an interview with KRQE News 13 Monday.
Winter’s concern over the transfer station funding has been lingering for the last nine months. In early 2018, Winter proposed an ordinance to reduce the extra $1.22 garbage fee the city has been collecting since June 2014.
The extra fee was put in place by the Berry Administration to raise funding for the proposed Edith station.
Neighbors fought the proposal for years until Mayor Tim Keller announced in December 2017 that the transfer station was “not going to happen anymore.”
Since that announcement, the city has been mum about what they’ll do with all the cash raised for the defunct project.
In April, Solid Waste director Matthew Whelan told city councilor that the department was “looking at how (it) can restructure how solid waste is actually collected.”
Whelan mentioned the idea of potentially building a new facility on the west side near the dump and a smaller transfer station on the eastside, but he didn’t elaborate much further.
As of mid-September, Solid Waste has yet to announce a formal draft plan for any future facilities.
“They need a plan that can be shown to all the council,” said Winter.
The city councilor is now pressing the Keller administration to either show their plan to the public or stop collecting the extra $1.22 fee for future facilities.
“It is a little frustrating because now I think they probably have closer to $4 million saved up,” said Winter.
Winter’s proposed ordinance to reduce the garbage fee was deferred in front of a city council committee Monday following an afternoon meeting with the Solid Waste Department.
Winter says he’s been told the Keller administration will have a plan to present 30 days from Monday, September 10, 2018.
“I just don’t want it to drop through the cracks and go months and months,” said Winter.
Councilor Winter says he’s under the impression that Solid Waste started from scratch on this new plan.
The department would only tell KRQE News 13 that they’re working with consultants and hope to have a draft plan “soon.” The department also released the following statement:
“We remain committed to reducing our city’s carbon footprint which includes finding ways to reduce travel distances and incorporate alternative fuels. The Solid Waste Management Department is working with consultants to evaluate the criteria and additional options for a transfer station. The department continues to make progress and we expect a draft plan soon.”
–Diane Wikler, Spokeswoman, Albuquerque Solid Waste Department