ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In a move applauded by neighbors, Mayor Tim Keller announced Thursday he’s scrapping a proposal for a trash transfer station in the North Valley.
The plan was pushed by the previous administration, under Richard J. Berry, but the community near Edith and Comanche pushed back.
“I’m standing here today to say that is not going to happen anymore,” Mayor Keller announced at the front entrance to the existing solid waste facility at the intersection. A small crowd of about 50 erupted into applause.
For years, these neighbors have been fighting the idea of the Edith Transfer Station and Convenience Center, armed with an attorney.
The Berry administration touted the idea as cost-saving in fuel, maintenance and emissions, saying it would save taxpayers $75 million over 20 years, or $5 million a year.
Solid Waste employees even told KRQE News 13 they liked the idea during a KRQE News 13 On Special Assignment report.
However, neighbors voiced concerns over increased traffic, smell and home value decline. Some also say the transfer station was the wrong approach to being fiscally responsible because it wasn’t environmentally responsible as well.
“How to improve our whole system, instead, as one of our members said, just schlepping around our garbage. Let’s reduce it and figure out what we could do differently,” said Peggy Norton, who lives a few miles away.
Mayor Keller agreed.
“Somehow, we want to continue at reducing our carbon footprint in Albuquerque. So, that does have to do with reducing travel distance and incorporating alternative fuels. So, we’re going to look at other locations. We’re going to look at other ideas…But we’re not going to do it all right here,” he said.
You may recall in 2014, then-Mayor Berry upped trash collection fees from $13 to $15 to pay for the proposed transfer station. Mayor Keller says those dollars will now go toward improving the existing facility at Edith and Comanche as well as fixing the city’s deficit.
Mayor Keller says up to this point, the City of Albuquerque had spent $4 million on the proposed transfer station.