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Council to conduct public hearing on recycling franchise

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The Roswell City Council will conduct two public hearings and consider scheduling another for January when it meets for its regular meeting Thursday.

The meeting will be at 6 p.m. Thursday in Meeting Room A of the Roswell Convention & Civic Center, 912 N. Main St. Due to state health orders, the public is encouraged to attend electronically. The meeting will be livestreamed on the city’s YouTube channel.

Those wanting to participate electronically can do so through GoToMeeting virtual meeting software.

By computer, tablet or smartphone, the meeting can be joined at https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/815060573. To join by phone, call 669-224-3412 and use access code 815-060-573.

The public hearings at Thursday’s meeting are for ordinances that would grant a recycling collection franchise to a private business and continuing the Labor Management Relations Board. Votes on each resolution will follow the hearings.

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Ordinance 20-14 would grant a franchise to J&A Recycling for collection, transportation and recycling of solid waste. The city announced in June it would end its recycling program, which it had been subsidizing at $225,000 per year for several years. The city began working with J&A Recycling, which had been in business for about a year, to establish a franchise agreement for curbside recycling service.

That process included the city updating code regarding solid waste franchises. The city’s green recycling bins have remained in use during the process and will stay for a transition period if the franchise is allowed.

At its November meeting, the City Council approved a franchise agreement — a business contract — with the company that outlines the details of how the franchise will operate. Thursday’s ordinance, if passed, would allow for that agreement to move forward 30 days later unless challenged by a petition with 1,113 valid signatures, equal to 20% of the number of people who voted in the March municipal election.

If successfully challenged, the ordinance granting the franchise would go to a public vote.

The franchise, if granted, would last for 25 years and be nonexclusive, meaning other companies could also apply for a recycling collection franchise.

The agreement approved by the council in November specifies it will be reviewed every five years and the city has the right to terminate the agreement without cause. The Solid Waste director also has the right to suspend the franchise if he finds the company is not operating within the terms of the agreement. J&A Recycling will pay the city 7% of its gross revenue from collections within the city.

J&A Recycling offers four monthly pricing options, according to the company’s website: $25 a month for customers sorting the recycling material and using their own bins; $27 for customers sorting materials and using the company’s bins; $35 for customers using their own bins but the company sorts materials; and $37 for customers using the company’s bins and the company sorts the materials.

The second public hearing concerns an ordinance to reauthorize the city’s Labor Management Relations Board. The New Mexico Legislature this year amended the Employee Bargaining Act to require local boards to be reauthorized by revised ordinance by the end of the year. If that is not done, the local board will cease to exist on Jan. 1 and the state’s Public Employee Labor Relations Board will take over its functions.

The City Council will also consider scheduling a public hearing at its January meeting for a proposed ordinance that would recommend lowering the interest rate for a loan the city received to pay for a wastewater dewatering facility.

The city was awarded $5.5 million from the New Mexico Environment Department Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund for the dewatering facility, but because it has not yet drawn on that loan, it can request a reduction of the interest rate from 1.2% to 0.5%.

Also on the city’s Thursday agenda:

• Emergency Services Manager Karen Sanders will give an update on the COVID-19 pandemic.

• The council will consider adoption of resolutions establishing admission fees for the Spring River Zoo, certifying the physical inventory of fixed assets and amendments to the fiscal 2021 budget.

• Consider approval of Shawn Powell, president of Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell, to the Airport Advisory Commission.

• Consider approval of the $1.2 million purchase of a Wagner Caterpillar 836K for use as a landfill compactor.

• Consider approval of using federal drug grant money to purchase two new pickups.

The council will also consider approval of six items on the consent agenda. Unless a council member requests items be removed from the consent agenda, all items will be approved with one action. Those items on the consent agenda are:

• Awarding professional design services to Bohannan Huston Inc., Albuquerque, for an inclusive park for $162,828.

• Awarding professional design services to HDR Engineering, Albuquerque, for the wastewater dewatering facility for $412,400.

• Awarding a Nova Chip overlay project on North Main Street from College Boulevard to Country Club Road to Brasier Asphalt, Albuquerque, for $630,000, and pavement maintenance contracts for several streets to Dustrol Inc., Pueblo, Colorado, and IPR Ltd., Albuquerque, for $700,000 and $478,000, respectively.

• Condemnations of six structures.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.