Let’s do some trash talkin’.

We sit on the cusp of a major health crisis in Española, Rio Arriba County and in the Pueblos.

Drowning in stinking, rotten, and potentially disease-carrying trash and garbage, here we sit.

Why?

It’s simple. The North Central Solid Waste Authority is inept, running out of control and appears to answer to no one. It needs a complete audit of its work, procedures, and finances. That is number one, Numero Uno, but actually before that happens someone needs to tell the Authority to resume picking up trash immediately.

The current crisis comes on the heels of the Authority informing area citizens it will no longer pick up trash on “side streets, private drives or county roads.”

The result has been trash strewn all over the city and county and long lines of cars and trucks at the dump for people to dispose of their own trash.

The City of Española has filed a complaint with the Authority and there is an emergency meeting of the Authority Board on Thursday, September 15 to discuss the complaint and consider raises for trash collection personnel. Starting salaries for employees have not been raised in two years.

Spending for increased maintenance of trash hauling trucks will also be discussed.

You will recall that in early summer the Authority announced all of its fleet of commercial trucks was inoperable because of maintenance problems.

The Authority needs to analyze the performance of director Janet Saucedo, who is paid $87,000 a year and not producing results.

The trash collection job is a big one.

The program calls for collecting trash across an enormous 6,000 square miles and transferring it to a landfill in Rio Rancho.

It is possible this job is too big for the coordination being attempted by the governing board which consists of five directors: one each from the City of Española, Ohkay Owingeh, Santa Clara and two from Rio Arriba County. Many municipalities contract these services out to professional trash collection companies that operate nationwide. Those carry with them their own set of problems which range from being allegedly controlled by organized crime to being suspicious of financial mismanagement, fraud, and other possibly criminal activities. Rarely are the accused of not doing their job: picking up trash.

This is simple: the Authority and Ms. Saucedo are not doing the job. They are not picking up trash.

Changes need to be made now.

Otherwise, our area begins to literally look like a town dump.

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