North Central Solid Waste Authority is in dire straits. All the evidence needed to prove that statement is lined along Española and Rio Arriba County streets. The blue polycarts are everywhere, left on the streets by customers whose trash was not picked up on their scheduled day, customers hoping maybe they’ll get lucky the next day, or the next.
Authority General Manager Peter Fuller said Nov. 20, that’s not going to happen any time soon. All of the polycart configured trucks are out of commission and there are three manual collection trucks available to work routes.
Add to that catastrophe the Authority had six positive COVID-19 cases last week and it’s the proverbial recipe for disaster.
Anyone who reads the Rio Grande SUN with even partial regularity knows the Authority has been running in the red for years, being propped up by County injections of cash and a devastating decision to push truck repairs and preventive maintenance further down the calendar. We’re feeling the results of those decisions now.
Those of you sharpening your pitchforks and soaking your torches in kerosene, take a breath. Fuller took over a mess left behind by former general manager Gino Romero. We don’t know of a full and proper audit of Romero’s questionable behavior and terrible business acumen, but needless to say, Fuller started the job with one hand tied behind his back and the other being held tightly by the many residents receiving trash pick up service, but never paying for it. They are the problems, not Fuller.
Readers aren’t subjected the banal entries from the E-911 entries of the regular parade of people whose polycarts were stolen from their yards. Simple logic tells you where those carts are now: being used by someone who is not paying for the service.
So limited revenue, rising expenses, poorly maintained equipment all caught up with the Authority last week as it suspended trash collection until Dec. 1.
Complaining is not going to get anyone anywhere. This is a community problem. Current customers can take their trash for free to the transfer station in Alcalde through the end of the month. We suggest neighbors with trucks and/or trailers help neighbors who don’t, especially the elderly and infirm.