By Cassie McClure and Suzanne Michaels
Published in the Las Cruces Sun-News 9/29/19
It’s the end of the day and it’s time to pay the utility bill. For many, that means a trip to Las Cruces City Hall, and for the next week, residents can hear more about the Solid Waste Rate Review and proposed rate increase. A question will also be posed to them: Is it better that it’s phased-in at a $1 monthly increase per year for two years, or would the “full cost” increase of $2 per month in solid waste rates be better all at once?
The Utility Customer Advisory Group (UCAG) is in the process of hosting a total of 12 community conversations to get answers to that question, explain the process and answer any other questions residents may have about the rate review process, while gathering input from residents for two weeks through Friday, October 4th.
Currently, UCAG, a group of five volunteer ratepayers, is reviewing solid waste rates, to be sure Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) is charging enough through monthly bills to recover the cost of disposing of 74,400 tons of trash every year. That effort involves providing weekly curbside trash pickup to more than 33,000 homes, commercial trash pickup at more than 2,700 businesses, monthly Grappler and Green Grappler services, and clean fill and green waste management at the closed Old Foothills Landfill.
For residents, that means a $2 per month increase in the cost of curbside trash pickup; whether you have a 96-gallon container or a 64-gallon compact saver container. Commercial accounts will also see an increase.
Haven’t had a chance to make it by City Hall? There is still time, and two other locations this week. The UCAG volunteer committee members will be available on the following dates and locations to discuss the Solid Waste Rate Review:
● Regional Aquatic Center, 1401 E. Hadley Ave., from 9:30 to 11 a.m.: Monday, September 30th
● Farmer’s Market on Main Street, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Wednesday, October 2nd;
● Lobby of City Hall, 700 N. Main St., from 4 to 5 p.m.: Tuesday through Friday, October 1st-4th.
With input from the public, the UCAG sends its recommendation to the LCU Board of Commissioners. The LCU Board then sends its recommendation to Las Cruces City Council, which makes the final decision.
You can reach Las Cruces Utilities at 528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Las Cruces Utilities provides GAS – WATER – WASTEWATER – SOLID WASTE services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
PHOTO 1: Two young residents listen to UCAG member Paul Royalty talk about the Solid Waste Rate Review and how it may affect them. All residents can have their say at UCAG community conversations until October 4th at City Hall, the Farmers’ Market, and the Regional Aquatic Center.