The Las Cruces City Council will continue to pursue a proposed initiative that could limit single-use plastic bags in Las Cruces.
During a Monday, April 12, 2021 Work Session there was informal Council consensus that the potential benefits of limiting single-use plastic bags will help decrease litter, reduce residents’ exposure to the harmful effects of microplastics, and promote additional important practices.
The City has formed a stakeholder advisory committee that has been working for about two years. The committee has reached out to various community groups to discuss limiting the use of single-use plastic bags in retail settings.
Stakeholder meetings were conducted and consisted of defining single-use plastic carryout bags, retail establishments, reusable bags, paper bags, and various detailed requirements, exemptions, and time frames for enforcement.
From the Council’s discussion, City staff members will draft an Ordinance and formally present it to the Council at a later date. The Council agreed it hoped the draft Ordinance could be presented sooner, with a Council goal of enacting the Ordinance in early 2022.
Limiting single-use plastic bags could apply to retailers including department stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, home improvement stores, convenience stores, gas stations, and farmers markets. Any limits imposed by City Council would be subject to review a year after it went into effect.
Some Council members also supported an extended limitation that could eventually apply to Styrofoam cups, plastic straws, and other single-use plastic items.
Also, at Monday’s Work Session, the Council discussed the City’s Water and Wastewater Impact Fee allocation. The allocations of Development Impact Fees between builder, customer, and rate base for water and wastewater Development Impact Fees was presented to the public for its input from January 14 through Jan. 29, 2021.
However, no public comments were received by the City, and the only response was offered by the Capital Improvements Advisory Committee at its regular meeting in January 2021. Information and updates were sent to developers through the City of Las Cruces, Community Development Program.
Currently Development Impact Fees are split between the builder, customer, and rate base, or existing Las Cruces Utilities customers for all new home construction. The cost of water Development Impact Fees are split three ways: 50 percent to the builder, 28 percent to new-home customer, and 22 percent to the rate base customers. Wastewater Development Fees are split 50 percent to the builder, 20 percent to the new-home customer, and 30 percent to rate base customers.
Three options were presented to City Council at Monday’s Work Session. Those included:
- Leave the allocations of water and wastewater fees unchanged.
- Allocate the costs Development Impact Fees to the builder and developer at the time of issuing permits for water and wastewater fees.
- Allocate Development Impact Fees between the homeowner and the builder.
At Monday’s Work Session, the Council favored a change to allocating Development Impact Fees to a 50-50 split between new-home customers and the builder. A proposed Resolution to make that change will be drafted by City staff and presented to City Council at a future date for formal consideration.