Commission passes ordinance for lower landfill rates

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

With some quickly withdrawn concerns, an ordinance to allow for lower landfill rates passed through Thursday’s city commission meeting.

The ordinance allows, with prior consent of the city public works director and city manager, to assess charges of $10 per ton to dispose debris resulting from the demolition of complete structures within the city.

The ordinance was introduced after Clovis resident Junior Dallas said high landfill rates discouraged property owners from demolishing unsightly properties.

Originally on the consent agenda, a section for routine items expected to pass on unanimous votes, Commissioner Fred Van Soelen pulled it off for discussion. He wanted to confirm the language of the ordinance before casting his vote.

Van Soelen feared the ordinance would put undue pressure on City Manager Joe Thomas and Public Works Director Clint Bunch from disgruntled residents who don’t get the lower rate.

Normal landfill fees are $26 per ton.

“Are (city officials) ready,” Van Soelen asked, “for the deluge of complaints about, ‘You gave this person the lower rate, and not this person?’ There’s a lot of discretion.”

City Attorney David Richards said that situation shouldn’t be a problem because the term “complete structure” is well-defined as both the building structure and the foundation. A lack of those conditions would be Thomas’ and Bunch’s only motivation to decline a request.

Van Soelen said he was fine with that explanation, and the measure passed 8-0.

Later in the meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Randy Crowder said a bill to create a utility authority for the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System is flowing nicely through the state Legislature.

Crowder said the bill passed one House committee on a 7-0 vote and another on a 14-0 vote before receiving a 49-0 House vote.

“I’ve never seen anything make it through the House and two committees unchallenged,” Crowder said.

He’s hoping to see the bill get through the Senate by Saturday, but notes that in the last few days of the Legislature good bills sometimes die in the Senate.