Thanks to LUPE organizing, the County Commissioners vote on changing the trash collection system, originally scheduled for Tuesday’s meeting, will be postponed, giving colonia residents the chance to weigh in on what changes the county should make.

LUPE leaders spoke at Hidalgo County Commissioners Court asking the county postpone a decision on changes to trash collection until colonia residents have a chance to weigh in.
LUPE leaders spoke at Hidalgo County Commissioners Court Tuesday asking that the county postpone a decision on changes to trash collection until colonia residents have a chance to weigh in.

This is a major change that will impact the majority of colonia residents for a long time to come. At commissioners court Tuesday, county leaders agreed that the decision should not be made without the input of those directly affected.

Our members are concerned with problems that changes may cause. For example, one member expressed the concern that if the county decides to charge too much for dropping off trash at the collection sites, those who cannot afford the fees will resort to burning trash, which may result in home fires and exacerbate respiratory problems.

The community is also concerned with solutions. For example, one member opined that there should be a tiered system of charging for dropping off trash at collection sites, one level for businesses that dump large amounts of trash more frequently, and another more affordable level for the average home owner. Another member says that if the county contracts with one company to provide trash pickup, charging all residents the same, that price should be lower than what is charged right now that multiple companies compete for customers.

While not comprehensive, these are some of the concerns and ideas that the Commissioners Court would have missed for lack of adequate public dialogue and community forums on the issue. Thanks to Tuesday’s decision, the commissioners will have that chance.

In the coming week, LUPE will organize public forums in each of the four county precincts on the proposed changes to the trash collection system so that colonia residents can have their voices heard. Stay tuned for details and get involved.