New Governing Body
Needs Ideas and Initiative
Recent highlights in the newspaper are begging a stroll down memory lane. The authors of these letters have simultaneously praised the influx of new businesses coming to Rio Rancho, while accusing the Tea Party-supported Councilors responsible for this growth, of "ruining the city". Well, you can't have your cake and eat it too.
The formation of Sandoval Economic Alliance (SEA) began with the determination of these TEA Party Councilors to get rid of the outdated RREDC and start a fresh, new group focused on new goals. The surge in businesses started with our targeted, step-by-step mission beginning with an Impact Fee Moratorium in September 2012. In late 2012, it proceeded to working closely with NAOIP, the Home Builder's Association and the Apartment Association to remove nonsense requirements in the zoning ordinance. James Babin, then Acting City Manager, began the tedious process of changing the attitude in Development Services to one of "how can we help you?"
Seeing this plan through took two years of relentless hard work. Making the tough decisions like forcing City Manager Jimenez to resign, passing the impact fee moratorium, rewriting ordinances that make sense, and following up to ensure a continued positive attitude toward builders and developers is paying off. Less regulation, less cost, more confidence and predictability for builders. The fact that in the last 22 months we had $70,876,359 worth of commercial construction, which is 1/5th the total construction of all 30 years in Rio Rancho, speaks to our success. Now is not the time for indecision and inaction. The newest faces on the Governing Body should continue to build on this momentum.
I am concerned at the current lack of action and direction by the new majority. Removing area plans in a continued effort to lessen regulation and financial burden to businesses is important to continuing this growth. Some new Councilors say that I need to compromise on these, yet they fail to state specifically what I am supposed to compromise on. Why? Because they haven't even taken the time to read an area plan to know what's in it.
While area plans sit on the back-burner waiting patiently, I am currently working on the proposed land use for Unit 10. I would also recommend that we start a plan check fee/ inspection fee moratorium to replace the impact fee moratorium ending next month. Rezoning an area for a business park should take serious priority; Unit 10 can fill this need next to CNM Westside, with a large amount of consolidated lots and major roads nearby. All while staying ahead of development in that area.
Thanks to Councilors Scott, Crum and Clayton for having the willingness to put in the hours of homework, and the guts to do what needed to be done. I look forward to a time when the new majority has the courage and drive to make some serious decisions. The ball is in their court to support the above ideas, or come up with their own. 6 months and counting. Tick-tock.