By Jacque Ritchie
TALON 

CITY COMMISSION TO VOTE ON AMENDING UTILITY FEES

 


TALON is working hand-in-hand with the city to get you, our faithful readers, timely information about what’s coming down the fiscal pipe. In other words we are bugging the hell out of our civil servants to better keep everyone in the loop.

According to the upcoming City Commission Meeting Agenda on July 10 the Commission will vote on Final Adoption of Ordinance 2018-478 Amending Chapter 16, Article IV Utility Fees. The Aztec City Code Chapter 16 is simply entitled, Fee Schedule.

Chapter 16 clearly states that the: Joint Utility System (JUS) rate structure shall be reviewed annually and adjusted accordingly. The City Commission shall take action deemed necessary to ensure efficient operation of JUS. Any adjustments will be approved through Ordinance.

Ordinance 2018-478 states that the city staff is in the process of reviewing Chapter 16 Fee Schedule and that the Utility Office has identified some “minor edits.” The Ordinance further states: the City is in the process of adopting a new Water Conservation and Drought Plan; and this plan has fees associated with violators of the drought stages; for constistency purposes all fees associated with the drought stage are incorporated into Chapter 16 of the City Code.


When passed Ordinance 2018-478 will mean violations of Stage 1 Drought Restrictions will get you a warning (Notice Only). For Stage 2 Drought Restrictions (Aztec is currently in Stage 2) a first offense will still just get a warning. A second offense will cost $75.00 (Charged to Utility Bill). For a third violation the city will slap a $125.00 fine on offending residents. For a fourth offense the city will restrict or suspend water to the user.

For Stage 3 Drought Restrictions the city gets real serious. First Violation is still a warning. Second Violation is $175.00 and a third violation is water restricted or suspended.

Stage 4 Drought Restrictions will increase water fees per 1,000 gallons used for all customers. Customers using 16,000 to 25,000 per month will pay $7.50 per 1,000 gallons used (up from $4.25). Greater than 25,000 gallons, customers will pay $10.00 per 1,000 gallons used. First violation is a warning. Second violation will cost $300. Third violation will result in water restriction or suspension of service. The City Code can be viewed in PDF form on the city’s website at aztecnm.gov.

The good news is Ordinance 2018-478 will not arbitrarily raise either water or electrical rates. Aztec already pays substantially higher electric rates than many surrounding towns (except Durango). According to a Farmington Electric Utility System April 2018 study, Aztec Utility Customer Services users pay 19.24 percent more per kilowatt than Farmington electric customers for current that comes from the same source.


 

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