Editorial: A cleaner community

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By The Staff

Las Vegas Mayor Alfonso Ortiz is right to be looking for new ways to reduce the amount of illegal dumping in our area.

Last week, he signed an executive order that eliminates fees for city utility customers who bring trash to the transfer station in north Las Vegas. All residents have to do is show their utility bills to prove they’re customers.

Too often, people have thrown couches and other large items into arroyos and alleyways. Have they done so because of the costs associated with bringing the items to the transfer station? We don’t know. But it’s likely that at least some dumpers avoid the transfer station because of the fees and hassles.

Ortiz is quick to warn residents that, over time, the lost revenue in transfer station fees may mean a rise in monthly solid waste bills. At first glance, that’s bad news, but we think the long-term benefits would outweigh the costs.

After all, society shouldn’t be providing incentives for illegal dumping. Everyone who pays a solid waste bill should get free access to the transfer station. Indeed, all residents would benefit from a cleaner community — and it’s tough to put a price on that.

Eventually, San Miguel County may want to get on board with this idea. Many county residents live close to the city, and as such, could benefit from using the local transfer station. It’s no secret that much illegal dumping occurs in the county’s rural areas, so any partnership between the city and the county would be greatly helpful in dealing with this problem.

Years ago, County Manager Les Montoya inspired the creation of a regional solid waste authority, and both the city and county saw some benefits from this alliance. Unfortunately, the authority broke apart, which, by no means, was the county’s fault.

As the city strives to improve its solid waste department, it should look back at Montoya’s old authority and consider bringing it back. Money could be saved with the consolidation of solid waste services.

Everyone — in both the city and the county — would benefit from a cleaner community. So Ortiz should be commended for his efforts in that direction.