By Cassie McClure
Published in the Las Cruces Bulletin 10/23/20.
After his first retirement in 2012 lasted only 28 days, it wasn’t surprising that his second might get cut short too. Victor Ortiz found his next challenge at Las Cruces Utilities (LCU), where he -- as a City representative since August 2020 -- has collected over $1.5 million in past due commercial solid waste service payments.
Getting to know Ortiz, it’s not a surprise that he has a knack for the position. He had 46 years in the collections industry, starting off at 18 when he got a part-time job. Over time, he bought several different companies, one growing from 3 to 80 employees in just 10 years.
“I love working with numbers, but I enjoy working with people too,” said Ortiz. He explained that many times his approach is simple. “People in general are honest and sincere. If you talk to them with respect and empathy, they’ll understand where you’re coming from.”
He said that now many accounts, especially commercial, are dealing with the added stress of COVID-19 impacting their businesses. He works through each individual situation, sometimes collecting in full or just partially, but he also suggests payment plans and financial assistance that LCU offers to both residential customers and businesses.
“Our representatives, like Ortiz, help start the conversation with solid waste commercial customers to see what the best option for their situation might be,” said Jose Provencio, LCU deputy director Business Services. “Each case is unique, and we want to see what fit might be right for you. We have a Promise to Pay program that is a two-week extension if you know that you will have money coming in or a Payment Plan Agreement if you might owe several months of payments and need a plan to get back on schedule.”
Call Customer Central for assistance at 575-541-2111 or email Receivables@las-cruces.org and include your name and street address.
LCU can be reached at 575-528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
PHOTO 1: LCU City Representative Victor Ortiz is ready to help local businesses get back on track with their solid waste service utility payments.