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Compulsory Solid Waste Collection

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What is the name of your state? New Mexico

Does any local government have the legal authority to force compulsory acceptance and payment for services provided by any private company, whether it is a public utility or not?

If so, precisely what is the legal source of this authority?

If not, precisely what law(s) or NM or US Constitution articles does it violate?

The basis for my question is Bosque Farms Ordinance 9-1-2:
"Every person owning or controlling an occupied residence or commercial establishment within the Village is required to receive the solid waste collection service provided by the Franchised Collector and to pay the solid waste collection fee established by the Governing Body. Fees shall be billed by the Franchised Collector. The Franchised Collector shall have exclusive rights to all roll off work, including construction debris."

In support of the claim to this authority, the Village references the NM Supreme Court case, City of Albuquerque v. New Mexico Public Service Commission, 115 N.M. 521, 854 P.2d 348, (1993). However, this case appears to apply to a (regulated) public utility that falls under the authority of the NM Public Regulation Commission (PRC), but this service does not appear to be a "public utility". Further, individuals have the choice to purchase the services of public utilities such as PNM. That is, such service is not compulsory.

Any relavent advice will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Bill


Senior Member
What they are doing is perfectly legal. Simply, as your 'elected authority', they have entered into a contract to provide municipal services with that firm. As for your challenging their right to do so.... hire a local attorney for $10,000 plus and fight them in court.


Hello, JETX:
Well, I understand your "perfectly legal", and 'elected authority' points, but your reply doesn't really answer my question about the BASIS for that authority. For example, if they DO have such authority what is the limit to that authority? What makes it "perfectly legal"?

I realize they have the authority to require all residents to dispose of their trash responsibly, e.g., we can't throw it out in the street or into our neighbor's yard, etc. But if someone chooses to take their trash to the landfill themselves rather than accept that service, why would this be illegal?

By the way, "PNM" is the local electric and gas company - a regulated public utility. If I were to stop paying their bill, I guess that, sooner or later, they would turn off the juice. That is, there doesn't seem to be legal authority to force me to buy my electricity from PNM, so what is the legal basis for forcing us to purchase this other service?

I believe there's an ordinance saying we can't allow weeds to grow higher than 18". OK. Does this also mean they have the authority to pass an ordinance to force residents to purchase a particular make and model lawn mower? Or to contract with a particular company to mow our lawns at our expense? That is, as I asked before, what is the limit to their authority? What is the legal BASIS to their authority?

It seems to me that they have signed my name to a contract that I and no other residents can break. Again, by what legal authority, and what is its limit?

I would really like to see some references. I have twice written to ask this basic question and have received two replies from their lawyer - none of the answers apply. This makes me suspicious. If, as you say, it "is perfectly legal", why am I getting a run-around?

If my casual reading over the years is correct, the basic authority for all laws in the USA is the Constitution. For example, the authority to regulate interstate commerce is the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution. This is the type of "basis" I'm looking for.

JETX, you used the term, 'elected authority'. Could you define this term, please? What is an 'elected authority', and where do I find the list of authorities it has, plus the limits it cannot, by law, exceed? As an obvious example, the 'elected authority' could pass a law instituting slavery in this town. This, of course, would be illegal.

As I said - I am looking for references. Something I can use for independent verification.

Thanks again, Bill


I had hoped for a solid answer with a basis for reference.

Guess not.


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