Commission Moves Forward to Replace North Central Solid Waste
TIERRA AMARILLA – North Central Solid Waste Authority (NCSWA) has been handling Rio Arriba’s trash and recycling services since 2004 but that might be in jeopardy. After years of complaints, financial hardships, and questionable General Manager pay raises, the Rio Arriba County Commission has decided to seek out other possible options.
During the County Commissioners’ Report at Thursday’s County Commission meeting, North Central Solid Waste Authority came under fire from all three Commissioners.
Commissioner Alex Naranjo began the discussion by stating three major areas of concern he had regarding NCSWA. In his address, Naranjo publicly shamed the solid waste company for charging customers a $50 fee for dump cards that should have been free. He went on to advocate for lower fees for customers with seasonal homes in the County and those individuals 75 years or older.
However, it was the recent article in the Rio Grande Sun that called attention to a questionable pay raise for NCSWA General Manager Gino Romero, that was the most concerning for Commissioner Naranjo. Naranjo was quick to point out that just a few years prior, Romero was only making $70,000 compared to the now $102,000 and he felt that was unfair. “Their workers barely make enough to survive and I feel it is a slap in the face to the County of Rio Arriba because we are the ones that support that particular agency,” stated Commissioner Naranjo.
After a plea to fellow Commissioners to begin looking into different alternatives and part ways with NCSWA, Commissioner Danny Garcia spoke up in agreement with Commissioner Naranjo. During his report, Garcia noted that there was no way he could support a pay raise for Mr. Romero when the majority of customers unjustly charged for cards were in his district and NCSWA workers are not fairly compensated.
After a brief exchange between Commissioners, Chairman Barney Trujillo echoed the sentiments of Commissioners Naranjo and Garcia and added that the over taxation of residents of the City of Espanola and misuse of funds to grant a raise to Mr. Romero is disheartening. Chairman Trujillo instructed the County Manager to proceed with the necessary steps to replace NCSWA.
The Commissioners asked staff to put the topic on the agenda at a future Commission meeting in July or soon after.