By Christina Calloway
Portales city officials have no immediate plans to make changes at the Portales Convenience Center after the Roosevelt County Commission voted to stop funding county residents’ dumping services.
The county’s move is expected to cost the city $60,000 to $80,000 per year. Suggestions to compensate for the loss included reducing the days the center is open and charging county residents, but the city’s Public Works Commission suggested holding off on any major changes until the county hires a new manager.
“Because the county is in an interim position, it’s best to leave it as is,” said councilor and Public Works Commission Chair Matt Hunton.
Councilors agreed with the recommendation, hoping to provide county residents some leeway after the sudden change. The county is expected to stop paying for the service on Sept. 1.
“This gives them a couple of months’ grace period,” Councilor Keith Thomas said.
The center allows city and county residents to dump their trash, particularly large items not appropriate for the city trash receptacles. The service is a utility for city residents.
Public Works Director John DeSha said county residents have had questions but not much else has changed.
It was expressed by councilors at their last meeting that county residents would start dumping in the city’s alleys so they would avoid having to pay at the center, but DeSha said he had not witnessed anything like that.
Hunton hopes the county will have a new manager in two months. He hopes to work out a deal with the new county manager that will still allow for county residents to use the center.
County officials have said the reason they voted to stop the service is to make up for a shortfall in their budget caused by an increased in expenditures from replacing the Roosevelt County Courthouse’s HVAC system, a $2.9 million project. About 2,000 county residents have been estimated to use the center each month.