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Week in review

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Conn’s headed to Cottonwood

WEST SIDE – Conn’s Home Plus is coming to Cottonwood Mall.

The Texas-based chain could be selling appliances, electronics and furniture at the West Side mall by this fall, according to CBRE Associate Broker Jim Dountas.

Conn’s will have about 40,000 square feet of space at Cottonwood, taking over the bottom level of the former Mervyn’s.

The store is expected to open in November, said Dountas who worked with CBRE’s Linda Davis on the transaction.

Conn’s came to Albuquerque late last year, opening its first local location at Interstate 40 and Eubank NE.

New pay plan OK’d for city workers

RIO RANCHO – A new salary plan approved this week by Rio Rancho city councilors will take effect July 1. The plan, recommended by an independent consulting firm, will affect 63 percent of city employees, 165 non-union and 249 employees represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Employees represented by the local firefighters and police and dispatch unions will not be affected because those unions are still in contract negotiations with the city, Human Resources Director Cecelia Evjen told councilors.

The consultant firm Public Sector Personnel Consultants recommended bringing the lowest paid city employees up to the minimum levels prevailing in the region and to adjust pay for better paid workers to better reflect their longevity in the job.

In May, councilors approved using $650,000 in the city’s operating budget for fiscal year 2014 that begins July 1 to pay for the new salary plan.

Council OKs new development boss

RIO RANCHO – City councilors unanimously approved a recommendation by City Manager Keith Riesberg to appoint acting Development Services Director Dolores Wood to the position permanently. Riesberg cited Wood’s extensive experience as a 25-year city employee who worked her way up through the ranks and who has served as acting director four times.

He said Wood has suggested ideas on how to improve the department. He has asked Assistant City Manager Laura Fitzpatrick to look at staffing in the department where there are several mid-level vacancies, and to assess its functioning to identify ways in which projects could be moved along faster. He said he would welcome input from anyone who uses Development Department services.

City moves Sunday booze sales earlier

RIO RANCHO – Restaurants with a liquor license and bars in Rio Rancho will be able to sell alcoholic drinks beginning at 11 a.m. on Sunday, instead of at noon, after councilors this week unanimously approved an ordinance that brings the city into line with a state law passed in the legislative session this year.

A briefing memo referred to published reports where state Sen. John Ryan, R-Albuquerque, who sponsored the bill that became law, said it would benefit businesses that offer Sunday brunch or televise sporting events.

2 of 3 cell towers get panel’s nod

RIO RANCHO – The city’s Planning and Zoning Board on Tuesday approved applications by AT&T Mobility to install wireless communications towers at Sugar Park near Unser and Southern and Rio Vista Park in Rivers Edge II but rejected a similar application for a tower at Sabana Park near Sabana Grande and N.M. 528.

The 70-foot cell towers will be disguised as clock towers.

Planning and Zoning Board members voted 3-2 against a permit for the Sabana Park cell tower after residents of the Sabana Grande area gathered a petition with more than 140 signatures opposing the installation.

City residents who attended the meeting said a woman who spoke during the public comment period later suffered a serious medical incident. Deputy Fire Chief Paul Bearce said Fire Rescue personnel responded and was transported by ambulance to UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center.

Scott to hold ‘First Friday’ meeting

RIO RANCHO – Rio Rancho District 4 Councilor and Deputy Mayor Mark Scott will hold his next “First Fridays with Mark” meeting with city residents on Friday.

Scott meets with constituents on the first Friday of each month from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Café Connection, 3751 Southern Blvd.

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