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New water rate considered

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Rio Rancho councilors and the mayor agreed this week to have city staff review the rate the city charges for recycled water.

Currently, the city sells the water to Chamisa Hills Golf and Country Club and Vista Verde Memorial Park, but staff anticipate additional customers in the future.

The discussion followed a recent request by potential Chamisa Hills buyers Bob Gallagher and Jhett Browne to consider a proposal to set the rate at 20 percent of the potable irrigation rate, or $1.09 per 1,000 gallons, effective July 1.

They asked that the rate remain at 20 percent of the potable rate as those rates increase.

At present, Chamisa pays 47 cents per 1,000 gallons and faces an increase to $3.28 per 1,000 on July 1 when its contract expires, under a rate schedule councilors approved last year.

Gallagher and Browne say they can’t operate the golf course economically at that rate.

Utilities Commissioners listened to their proposal on Feb. 18 but took no action.

Staff is now working on information to present to the Utilities Commission at its meeting on March 18 for a recycled water rate structure that is a fixed percentage of the potable irrigation rate, city spokesman Peter Wells said.

He said staff will present this same information to the governing body at their March 26 meeting, along with whatever action the Utilities Commission takes on March 18.

Changing the citywide recycled water rate would be done via an ordinance that would have to be approved at two readings, Wells said.

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