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01-28-2003SolidWastePublicMtg I Solid Waste Public Meeting January 28,2003 Attendees: Klaus Kemmer, Solid Waste Administrator Bonnie Tafoya, Recycling Coordinator Jorge Garcia, Utilities Director Jeff Steinborn Michelle Marshall, LCHBA Klaus Wittern Joe Lewandowski, Operational Consultants Cathy Tyson-Foster,Operational Consultants Mr. Klaus Kemmer called to order the public meeting at 4:10. A presentation was going to be given but the parties present said they had already seen it during a council work session,but there are some comments. Mr. Jeff Steinborn is representing himself and the Las Cruces Curb Recycling Coalition. The curb coalition has endorsed the positions that will be recommended. The following are the organizations in the coalition: Keep Las Cruces Beautiful Southern NM Group of the Sierra Club Las Cruces Home Builders Association Las Cruces Association of Realtors Las Esperanzas Inc.Neighborhood Association Historic Alameda Neighborhood Association Picacho Hills Neighborhood Association Hightech Consortium of Southern NM League of Women Voters Soledad Canyon Neighborhood Association Highrange Neighborhood Association NM Wilderness Alliance Southwest Environmental Center Mr. Steinborn said they support the recycling fee increase that has been proposed to move the recycling program forward. This includes raising fees for cardboard collection and yard waste collection. There is no position on the solid waste based fees. Mr. Steinborn said they strongly urge council and the Solid Waste Section to set an aggressive timetable for implementing all proposed changes to the recycling center that are in the recycling consultant's study in redesigning the center. Those changes can be made within six months. Only until those changes are made, can the city move forward with a curbside program and have a more efficient center. Solid Waste Public Meeting 1 January 28,2003 Mr. Steinbom said the main priority for the coalition is for the city to move towards a curbside program. Data consistently shows that there is an increase in recycling and citizen participation in communities with a curbside program. Data shows that Las Cruces is behind the rest of the state. We are asking Las Cruces to move forward with their efforts and aggressively develop a curbside proposal to present to the citizen's advisory group and the City Council. It is suggested that a proposal can be done within three to six months before the new budgeting cycle. This way the council can have this information when considering the new budget for next year. Mr. Steinbom said the coalition includes several dozen citizens in addition to the fourteen organizations. Lastly,the Solid Waste Section was complemented for moving forward and embracing more recycling for the citizens of Las Cruces. Michelle Marshall, Executive Officer for the Las Cruces Home Builders Association. The comments she has are on behalf of the Las Cruces Home Builders Association building industry forum. Ms. Marshall said last year,the LCHBA Board of Directors agreed to support a curbside recycling program in Las Cruces. The participation in the curbside coalition was at the request of Jeff Steinborn. They are pleased to be included in the dialogue. They have participated in the coalition's meeting process, which involves a wide range of discussion of different aspects of recycling and this resulted in the formulation of group's priorities. The City participated with the group and during the process the City hired a Waste Management consultant to evaluate the city's waste collection system. Ms. Marshall said in December,they attended a coalition meeting and learned that the consultant had recommended changes to the current recycling system. His recommendations included raising certain waste disposal fees to make upgrades to the community's recycling plan. They would like to offer the following points: • They are concerned that the recommendations did not address the curbside recycling program and if it possibly will be on the table for discussion. This was a major priority for the coalition. • The construction industry uses the open container service to remove construction debris from their job sites. The staff's recommendation to council is that open container rates have been targeted for substantial increases. As they understand, the consultant has concluded that the charges for the services are"way too low" compared to other cities. The association's building industry forum asked for the comparative data. They received comparisons to cities that they feel are not comparable to us in size, economics,or individual peculiarities, such as, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, Santa Fe, and Silver City. They would like to see comparative data for communities like Roswell,Alamogordo, Clovis, Hobbs, Ruidoso,and Carlsbad,which they think would be more comparable to Las Cruces. Solid Waste Public Meeting 2 January 28,2003 • The recommended increase for the pull charge for open containers went from$70 to $125. This is an increase of 78%. The increase for the monthly rental charges is significant, 37%. The projected increase for open container fees is$285,000 annually. They feel that the industry is being asked to pay a disproportionate share to make up the current budget deficit for the recycling program. Every disproportionate cost imposed on the industry increases the cost of affordable housing. They feel that many of the builders will take issue with these increases and a decrease will be seen in the use of open container service. • They do not object to recycling based fee increases, especially for yard waste and cardboard collection. Ms. Marshall said in summary,they feel that the issue of recycling is an important community program in which every single resident benefits. They want to emphasize the word community and the cost of all waste disposals including refurbishing the recycling plan and planning for future recycling, such as,the curbside program, should be spread across the entire spectrum of rate payers in the community. Every business and entity should be paying for their fair share to dispose of our waste. From what is seen in the proposed increase,this is not what is happening. They feel like their industry is being singled out to pay a disproportionate share of the cost,which the $285,000 increase on open containers represents. Thank you. Klaus Wittern said he has no prepared statements. Mr. Wittern said he read the study and his biggest concern is that it does not seem to be a direct connection between the cost of recycling and the cost charges. This is problematic. We as a community need to encourage each other to engage in recycling,but it needs to be a cost recovery system directly linked to the effort. It was suggested they study this. We really need to establish a linkage between the cost incurred and the charges charged. If the increases are justifiable at 78%,then he does not have a problem with it. We can not afford to subsidize. One area,which is not even bigger than the increases,is the construction waste that is being hauled to the landfill is targeted to go from$1.00 to $3.50 a ton. This concerns him a lot. If the costs are there,then we can say, "Here is what it costs". Again,he has no problem. His concern is that he believes what would happen when these charges begin;there will be a decrease in deliveries to that lot. People will do something with it,which is probably a form of recycling. He has no difficulty with that if is cheaper to grind it up and make base course out of it. This is certainly a good use out of recycling because we can certainly use it and it makes more sense. The concern he has, is that the overall concept is we need to focus on recycling reducing waste that goes into the landfill. If this is cost effective,then he would encourage this because tonnage that goes into the landfill is tonnage that stays there forever. Mr. Kemmer commented that he wanted to make the public aware that Mr. McGuckin is doing a cost of service for solid waste. Some of the fees recommended are being studied by Mr.McGuckin, such as the open-top and grappler service. Once the study is completed by Mr. McGuckin,we would have a better idea of what the fees should be. Solid Waste Public Meeting 3 January 28, 2003 They may in fact go up or down when the study is done,depending on what the study shows. At this point, it is preliminary,but we do want to set these rates and get them started with the knowledge that they may be changed in the future. Mr. Steinbom asked when the study would be done. Mr. Kemmer said he is not sure when the study is due, but Mr. McGuckin has been working on it because they have met to share information on certain parts of the study. Within the next few months, it should be completed. The public was asked if there were any other questions. Mr. Steinborn asked if they would be studying recycling rates. Mr. Kemmer said no,they will not be studying recycling rates. He asked Mr. Jorge Garcia if Mr. McGuckin would be studying recycling rates at all. Mr. McGuckin's concern is solid waste fees for residential and commercial, which include the open-tops. The public was asked if any other questions. Mr. Steinbom commented that at the city meeting,the City Manager Jim Ericson, stated he was going to work with your department. He was going to look at curbside proposals. Is this starting to happen? Mr. Kemmer said we are looking at some preliminary costs for doing a curbside program. We will probably be ready with some preliminary amounts by the time budget comes around. We will have some ideas for council at that time. Mr. Jorge Garcia suggested to Mr.Kemmer to share with the public a survey that the customers would be receiving asking how much they would be willing to pay. Mr. Kemmer said one of things they want to do is allow the customers to give us some input as to the curbside program. We are trying to establish a fee as to what it would cost the city per customer to implement a curbside program. One of the things we want to do is mail out a survey to the customers asking them, assuming the cost is some amount per month, if they would be willing to pay that cost for a curbside program. Mr. Steinbom commented for the benefit of the builders,who have this concern,your curbside costs are in fact spread out among the users. Is this the only model that is being looked at? Mr. Kemmer said it would be a cost per solid waste customer,whether or not they use the program. It would be to all solid waste customers. The cost would be incurred by everybody and this would allow everybody the opportunity to use that service. Solid Waste Public Meeting 4 January 28, 2003 Mr. Steinbom said there is also a concern with one of the budgets in the study. It is stated under the chart that the recycling deficits are covered by solid waste fee increases. This gives the perception that, in fact, solid waste fee increases are going to subsidize additional recycling. This is why I stated in the meeting with councilors,they are only going to increase recycling services if those services are paid for in the way you just described curbside and by closing the budget of recycling. You might want to clarify what you meant when you said,"that the solid waste fees would cover the recycling deficit." Mr. Kemmer said he was not sure what Mr. Steinbom meant by"solid waste fees covering the recycling deficit"because that is currently being done. We bring in about $110,000 per year and the cost for the current recycling program is around$700,000 per year. Right now,recycling is, in fact,being subsidized by the Solid Waste Section by the residential and commercial customers. If we implement a curbside program,we will not continue this. It would have to be paid for by the customers that want that service. Does this clarify things? Mr. Steinborn said yes. Mr. Wittem said this is what he spoke of earlier. In his opinion, it needs to pay for itself. It can't incur$600,000 deficit on an ongoing yearly basis. A customer needs to know what he is buying for the fee that he is paying. Thank you. Mr. Kemmer agreed with Mr. Wittern. The public was asked if there were any other comments. No more comments. The meeting was officially closed at 4:28. V 0-,6� �L� � Klaus Kemmer Solid Waster Administrator Solid Waste Public Meeting 5 January 28, 2003 Page 1 of 2 Klaus Kemmer From: Dan Parrott[parrott@zianet.com] Sent: Monday,January 27,2003 3:12 PM To: Klaus Kemmer Subject: Evaluation of Recycling Program&Solid Waste Service Fees Importance: High Dear Mr. Kemmer: I read the notice in The Bulletin today regarding this public hearing tomorrow afternoon. I have a scheduling conflict for this public hearing as well as the following City Council Meeting, and would like to submit my comments by email. Regarding the Recycling Program, I applaud the City of Las Cruces for what it is doing. I wish the City would take it a step further and implement a curbside program, but after living here five years, I imagine the cost must be prohibitive, or it would be in place now. One thing I could never understand is why municipalities who do offer curbside recycling don't offer to give a discount in service fees to citizens who try to do the right thing and participate, and charge those citizens who do not recycle the full price, or perhaps an even slightly higher one,to encourage a higher rate participation. In our family of three,the main items we recycle are newspapers and cardboard. We very seldom buy aluminum drink cans. Most of the vegetables and fruits we purchase are fresh or frozen. What we do generate a lot of is plastic gallon milk(and occasionally water)containers. We live in High Range and utilize the recycling bins at Target and Hayden's Hardware most. I feel very badly that I do not recycle these gallon jugs,but I have no reason to drive to the City's one plastic recycling container at the Motel Boulevard transfer station. It is not environmentally friendly or economically feasible to make a special trip there just to recycle plastic. About the only time I'm in that area is in September to go to the Fair. I have called the Recycling Program phone number and asked the question about why there are no additional plastic containers in the City. The answer I was given is that the plastic takes up a large amount of volume for the amount of weight it generates. My suggestion would be to simply add a container dedicated solely to plastic jugs at two or three(if not all)of the recycling centers. Recently, I encountered a new resident at the Target recycling bins. She had a carload of plastics she had recycled from her move, and was trying to figure out which container to place them in. I tried to give her directions to Motel Boulevard,but I suspect she gave up before trying to go there. The municipality she moved from had had plastic recycling and she was used to saving plastic products. With the amount of products that are being developed and manufactured from recycled plastic, I would think the market would be a good one for the City of Las Cruces to sell to. What I'd really like to see is collection bins for No.I and No. 2 plastics to include the gallon jugs, soft drink, cosmetic containers, etc. We have an eleven year old son whom we are trying to teach to be a good steward of natural resources, and we are concerned about what conditions he will encounter in his adult lifetime, if we don't try to improve things now. As to the proposed increase in Solid Waste Service Fees, it seems like the proposed increases are quite a leap to make in one step. Has it been a long time since these rates were increased? If the rates were increased that dramatically, would people then resort to dumping more refuse in the desert? Thank you,Mr. Kemmer, for allowing me the opportunity to make these comments via e-mail. I look forward to your response perhaps after the meeting takes place and the decisions are made by the City Council. Sincerely, Lisa F. Parrott 2494 Cherokee Circle Las Cruces,NM 88011 1/27/2003