City manager acts in direct conflict with gb decision
The Rubber-Stampers said "NO".
So why is the City Manager allowing water and sewer hookups outside city limits anyway?
Recently, the City Manager notified the Governing Body that he is signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Town of Bernalillo in order to allow Rio Rancho city water and sewer hookups outside of city limits. Even though I agree with what the City Manager wants to do, it is not the direction a majority of the Governing Body voted for. The majority said no.
Let me explain. Last fall I was contacted by a business interested in building near Hwy 528 in Bernalillo. The city of Rio Rancho water and sewer lines are in the property easement and they were requesting to hook up to Rio Rancho’s system, even though their property technically lies in Bernalillo. Around the same time I encountered Sandoval County residents on the west end of Rio Rancho who lived just outside the city limits and wanted to hook up.
Because of these issues, while the Governing Body was reviewing the Water Resource Management Plan, I motioned to have the Utilities Commission review and set parameters to allow hook ups. After the Utilities Commission reviewed the item I brought it before the Governing Body for consideration. Both the Commission and Governing Body majority, supported by city staff, voted AGAINST allowing hookups outside city limits.
Now seven months later, the City Manager has decided on his own to allow hookups in the Hwy 528/Bernalillo area instead of taking it back to the Utilities Commission and Governing Body to reconsider reversing their policy decisions.
I brought his actions to the forefront at Wednesday’s Governing Body meeting, and the City Manager has sent an email explaining his justification. In his response he tries to justify his actions based on the supposition that it is “necessary to allow for the logical provision of utility service to occur”.
The City Manager incorrectly states in his response that “The scope and focus of the MOU is drastically different than the blanket policy amendment that was being contemplated previously.”
Is this true? Let’s first look at this item during the Governing Body vote as shown in the official Agenda and Minutes:
“18.D55. DISCUSSION AND DELIBERATION PERTAINING TO PARAMETERS FOR ISSUING WATER/WASTE-WATER LETTERS OF AVAILABILITY OUTSIDE CITY LIMITS”
In fact in the minutes from this meeting, I was asked to clarify what we were voting on. The minutes state:
“Councilor Wilkins clarified the motion to give direction to city staff to set the parameters for issuing water/waste-water letters of availability to outside the city limits.”
I don’t know how the City Manager can consider that a blanket policy.
Do I agree with the concept of the MOU and the logic of allowing hookups outside city limits? Yes. Unfortunately, Councilors Robinson, Everett, Smith, Clayton, and Mayor Hull did not. The City Manager and his staff also disagreed with it just last December when I brought it forward. I believe in the process, no matter how illogical the majority’s decisions are.
Perhaps a more intriguing question is why the City Manager has since changed his mind. Could it be that others are finally seeing the problems the city encounters in soliciting businesses to come here because of burdensome requirements?
When our nonsensical rules cause a business to spend over $100,000 in order to burrow beneath Hwy 528 to install water and sewer lines, even though there are Rio Rancho water and sewer lines on their property, the city has a problem. That is the reason I brought it forward last year.
Click here to read the draft Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Town of Bernalillo
Below, read the email exchanges regarding this issue
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