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Our view: Governor kept word on water project support

Local governments and other entities didn’t get all they requested in the recent legislative session, but they didn’t come away empty-handed,either. And for that, Gov. Susana Martinez earns a word of appreciation for signing several bills allocating important funds to our area.

The beneficiaries include Sandoval County, which will receive funds to open a small business innovation center, The ASK Academy, Cibola Little League, A Park Above and Rio Rancho Public Schools, which plans to enhance security at several schools.

The City of Rio Rancho anticipates being able to purchase eight new police vehicles for $337,000, and to pour about $965,000 into Westside Boulevard improvements, thanks to the measures signed by the governor.

It will also receive $1.4 million for its just-started water line replacement project as well as $100,000 for a new well.

To be sure, that was about $60,000 short of what the city sought for the line replacements, and $3.7 million below what it requested for the well. In that respect, the city was far from alone. Very few multi-million-dollar projects were approved.

Nonetheless, by signing off on the appropriations, the governor followed through on the support her administration expressed for the two projects during the session.


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The funding for the water line comes as the city embarks on a massive project to replace, with copper pipes, almost 15,000 polyethylene water services lines that have been the source of constant leaks. The city estimates the project will cost almost $22 million.

The city council in 2012 decided to raise household water rates each year through 2017, with a certain percentage, or about a million dollars a year, of the increase set aside to replace the lines.

The new funding could soften the impact of the next increase due to take effect in July – if the council, as it did last year, reduces the scheduled rate by the amount corresponding to what the city received. That remains to be seen, but the state funds remain a welcome investment in the city’s infrastructure.