Aztec residents can weigh in on utility rates

The city will have a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday

Hannah Grover,
Construction work on a sewer line continues April 14 near the Aztec Municipal School District offices. Aztec officials are considering increases to their wastewater and water rates.

FARMINGTON — Aztec residents are invited to a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 201 W. Chaco St., to discuss potential future rate increases for utilities.

City Manager Joshua Ray said the presentation will show a breakdown of proposed rates over the next five years. The current proposal is to increase water rates by 10 percent and increase wastewater rates by 25 percent, and have a slight reduction for electric rates, Ray said.

The rates are being proposed in the wake a recent cost-of-service study. The study showed a need for raising rates and proposed increases as high as 60 percent on the wastewater side.

After the results of the study were released, Ray said seven people contacted him expressing concerns about potential large rate increases. He said one comment he received was that people on fixed incomes may struggle with large increases.

Ray said the city staff looked at what increases residents can handle while evaluating raising the rates.

"Ultimately, (the Aztec City) Commission is going to have to make the decision," he said.

Ray encouraged people who have questions or comments about the proposed increases to attend the meeting or contact city officials.

"We'd like to hear people make comments," he said.

The city commissioners will consider the comments received from the public while deciding on rates. People can contact City Hall at 505-334-7600 to get contact information for commissioners. They can also call Ray at 505-334-7602. Contact information for the four commissioners is also available on the city's website, Ray said the public meeting will be livestreamed on the city's YouTube channel.

"I think (public input is) important for progress, for democracy, for government to work," Ray said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.