Disposal dilemma

By Jared Tucker: PNT staff writer

The City of Portales has been trucking its trash to Clovis for years and saving money.

But officials say a new study approved for next year’s budget will re-evaluate whether or not the city can build its own landfill and still be as cost-efficient.

City Manager Tom Howell said he will take another look in July at costs related to hauling the city’s rubbish to Clovis for disposal and prepare those results for a study to be conducted next year.

“When the study was done five or six years ago, the costs almost broke even,” said Howell.

Howell said the big advantage to hauling trash to Clovis is the cost varies because it’s priced by the ton. A landfill’s costs for engineering, construction, monitoring and operation would be the same, regardless of how much garbage is disposed of.

The study would determine the approximate cost per ton of Portales owning its own landfill, according to Howell.

Clovis Public Works Assistant Director Bill Kshir said his department is also seeking a rate study to determine if the city is breaking even or losing money at the current disposal rates.

Kshir said Portales’ disposal tons vary each month, but said Portales hauled 1,222 tons of garbage to Clovis in January.

According to the city’s accounts payable report for May, Portales spent $37,506.70 to truck the city’s rubbish to Clovis for disposal.

That amount includes the tipping fees for unloading the garbage trucks, hauling fees from the convenience center, but does not include fuel and maintenance costs on the trucks.

Gerald Whitley, an employee at the Portales Convenience Center, said the costs of hauling general rubbish from the city might decrease slightly, thanks to some new self-compacting roll-off dumpsters that will arrive soon.

“We’ll be able to pack more into each of them, which would mean less trips to Clovis,” said Whitley. The city paid $11,406 to SOS Managed Waste for hauling fees in May.

Howell said it is too early to start looking at possible locations for a Portales landfill at this time.