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Las Cruces Utilities Board Votes on Water Rate Recommendations 2018

“We recommend the three-year rate increase phased-in option of the water rate adjustment,” said Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Board Chair, William M. Little, following a 6-1 vote of the Board of Commissioners for the City of Las Cruces Utilities (Board), at the Thursday, July 12th Board Meeting. The LCU Board recommendation now goes to City Council for its approval or rejection and remand back to the LCU Board.

For more than a year the Utility Customer Advisory Group (UCAG) - an Ad Hoc Committee of five volunteers - has studied water rates, water rate design, and the cost of providing water to Las Cruces, coming to the unanimous decision that water rates must increase to meet the current costs of providing water service to customers. The UCAG then was tasked with presenting via public meetings and outreach the two options of increasing rates, as follows:

  1. A full cost option, which would increase bills by approximately $5.89 per month (24%) for the average residential water customer using 10,000 gallons. The result will be a monthly bill of $33.44, or
  2. A three-year rate increase phased-in plan, which would result in a $2.25 (15%) rate increase the first year for the average residential water customer using 10,000 gallons, followed by $1.78 (4%) rate increase the second year and a $1.97 (4%) increase the third year of the phase-in. The result will be a monthly bill of $33.55.

At the June 14, 2018, LCU Board meeting, the UCAG submitted its recommendation to the LCU Board for the full cost water rate adjustment option. At the July 12, 2018, Board meeting the LCU Board opted to recommend the three-year phased-in plan after hearing a presentation on the upcoming review of wastewater rates, which will likely result in another cost increase for customers.

The average residential monthly water bill today in Las Cruces is $27.55 for 10,000 gallons. LCU is not funded by tax dollars; instead this City department recovers the cost of providing services through monthly billing to customers. The last water rate increase was almost 10 years ago and LCU must now increase rates by $3.8 million annually to meet the current costs of providing services to customers.

All documents associated with the water rate review process are located at www.las-cruces.org, and then simply search for “UCAG.” Customers may also email the UCAG Committee at ucag@las.cruces.org.

You can reach Las Cruces Utilities at 528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Las Cruces Utilities provides GAS – WATER – WASTEWATER – SOLID WASTE services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.