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Posted on: September 10, 2020

City Council to Meet for a Work Session on September 14

City Council

The Las Cruces City Council will meet, via video conference, at 1 p.m. Monday for a work session. 

The work session will be televised live at 1 p.m. Monday on CLC-TV, Comcast Cable channel 20. The work session will also be available online at clctv.com and at YouTube.com/clctv20

City council will discuss two items during the work session: a review of the City’s upcoming Jan. 1, 2021 minimum wage increase, and water and wastewater impact fees. The agenda for Monday’s City Council work session can be found at: https://lascruces.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Org=Cal&Id=166

Regarding water and wastewater impact fees, further discussion needs to occur with City Council on direction about the current practice of splitting the water and wastewater impact fees between the developer/builder at the time of building permit issuance, the end user at the time of utility service application, and the respective utility rate base. 

On Feb. 6, 2019, TischlerBise, Inc., of Bethesda, Maryland, was contracted to review and provide an update to the City’s water and wastewater impact fees. In its study, TischlerBise took into consideration water and wastewater usage, capital projects, the most recent water and wastewater rate reviews, growth projections, land use assumptions, and outstanding debt. 

A credit is included in the fee calculation to make sure that new development does not pay twice for the same improvement costs. Costs for utility capacity improvements are captured both in impact fees and partially in ongoing utility rates. The credit is set up to reduce the impact fee rate for the amount of outstanding debt that is anticipated to be covered by utility rates, thereby, avoiding a situation where a user pays twice for the same capital improvements and expansion. 

The initial assumption from TischlerBise, was to use the American Water Works Association guidelines for meter capacity. However, due to the recent Investment Grade Audit, the City has current metering technology that provides actual capacity for residential and larger meters. The City then used the residential meter capacity to scale up and establish the appropriate Water and Wastewater Impact Fees. 

The draft Water and Wastewater Impact Fee update was presented to the Capital Improvements Advisory Committee (“CIAC”), on Oct. 17, 2019. Two months later, on Dec. 19, 2019, the CIAC approved the Water and Wastewater Impact Fee Update. Then, on Jan. 9, 2020, the Water and Wastewater Impact Fee update was reviewed by the Las Cruces Utilities Board during one of its work sessions. 

Immediately after Monday’s City Council work session, a brief meeting will be conducted to set the agenda for the council’s September 21 regularly scheduled meeting. 

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