The Socorro County Commission meets in the County Annex Building on Neel St. on the second and fourth Tuesdays each month.
John Larson | El Defensor Chieftain


After months of discussion and deliberating, the Socorro County Commission has finalized an agreement with Valley Sanitation to take over rural waste collection.

The contract with Valley Sanitation was approved by the commissioners at their September 28 meeting. Solid Waste Ordinance 2021-04 says the purpose of the ordinance is to provide for the collection, storage and disposal of solid waste; establishing and imposing a system of solid waste disposal fees and electronic card system, to prohibit the unlawful disposal and illegal dumping of solid waste, to provide for penalties, to allow the County to engage a contractor to provide solid waste services and enforcement and an effective date.

County Manager Michael Hawkes said the agreement is to the county’s benefit.

“This agreement is not costing the county anything,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll realize a savings of $140,000 a year. That’s the idea.”

Currently, residents use punch cards to access the county’s five transfer stations – convenience centers.

“They’ll honor the current punch cards until January 1, but everybody should be getting mailers for a new rechargeable card in November,” he said. “But curbside service will be offered all along the Interstate 25 corridor. The start date is November 15.”

For monthly curbside trash pickup, the charge is $27.69 per residential waste bin. The fee for extra bins is $9.41 per month.

The startup fee is $20 plus $1.30 GRT.

The service area on the north end will be one mile east of Highway 304/one mile west of Interstate 25 and the northern county line.

And on the south end, one mile east of Farm To Market Road/one mile west of Interstate 25 and five miles south of Highway 380.

“The corridor is identified in the contract of who’s eligible,” he said. “If you’re not eligible then you need to have your fillable card.”

Hawkes said residents are not required to sign up for the curbside service.

“If you prefer to take your trash to the convenience center by yourself, you can do that, but you’ll need the refillable card,” he said. “Refillable cards will be mailed to all the households in Socorro County,” he said. “But again, you don’t have to use it, you can use the curbside service.”

The contract also stipulates that Valley Sanitation will assume full responsibility for operating, maintaining, and improving the County-owned Veguita, Lemitar, La Joya, San Antonio convenience center solid waste facilities. This includes Magdalena’s convention center.

“They’re going to be doing other services, like making sure rural sites are cleaned up and old batteries and tires are taken care of,” Hawkes said. “Extra fees will apply to the disposal of vehicle batteries and tires.”