Trash and Tempers Are Piling Up in Fort Stockton

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

FORT STOCKTON--The City Council announced they're raising disposal rates to help them offset expenses, but everyone's happy about it.

Even though they received a permit to dump trash ten feet above ground level, it's not something they can do forever. You see, the landfill for the City of Fort Stockton, is almost at 100% capacity.   City officials need to find an alternative fast, because time is running out.

"The time has come that the City has approximately 5 - 7 years of life left in the landfill.  So the City is planning for the future," City Manager Rafael Castillo, Jr, said.

The current City Administration says the landfill situation existed long before they took office.

According to Castillo, "I think it all started back in 1993 when there was regulations set in place of which way you were going with the landfills.  The decisions were made that the City was going to take 20 tons a day, type of landfill.  From then on, we might have, pretty much, put it aside."

Left unattended for as long as it has, this robust problem needs to be addressed before it gets anymore out of hand.

"In that planning process, this is one huge-band aid that we have.  It's a huge band-aid.  You're looking at a $2.5 million investment, just to keep the landfill in operation," the City Manager explained.

With five years of life left for the existing landfill and at least five to seven years to get a new one, the City is left with a gap of time and loads of trash to deal with.

"Either we do a transfer station, we transfer the trash from Fort Stockton to Odessa or we buy some land and operate our own landfill,"  Castillo added.

Meanwhile, the expenses just keep piling up.

"Our fleet is over 10 years old and that's just the sanitation fleet.  The expense for the maintenence is just incredible.  I have, in my budget, almost as much money for maintenence and repairs for those vehicles, as I do for fuel for the year," City Engineer Raul Rodriguez, said.

Rodriguez says, the hike in monthly trash disposal fees, is one way to help lighten the financial load, "It's unwelcome but once the information gets out and the people get educated as to why, it makes sense, once you listen to the situation the City is in."

It seems like a small price to pay for a plan that has the City's best interest at heart.

"Yes, it is uncomfortable to have that kind of shock to your wallet, but it's something that's necessary to keep the City operating,"  Rodriguez commented.