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City considers three new ordinances

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The city of Roswell is considering three new ordinances, one affecting the use of fire hydrant meters for building projects, another required by the state regarding energy conservation as a part of building codes and a third about city election codes.

As ordinances, all would require public hearings and approval of the entire Roswell City Council before they could be adopted.

They were reviewed by members of the Legal Committee on Thursday, with Councilors Jason Perry, Judy Stubbs and Barry Foster voting to approve the items for further consideration by other city councilors.

The fire hydrant meter policy is being recommended by the city staff. It governs the procedures and policies related to placing meters that measure water use from fire hydrants. According to Robert Glenn, deputy superintendent of the Utilities Department, the meters are intended to be used by construction firms and vendors as they work to build or maintain projects.

The new policy would prohibit the use of private meters or mobile meters and would allow only temporary use for up to three months, with extensions only allowed under certain circumstances.

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At this point, the meter deposit would go up from $200 to $2,300. Part of the reason for the higher cost, said Glenn, is that the meters would come with global positioning system equipment so that the city will know where they are at all times.

“I talked to some of our bigger construction companies that use these meters, and this, they say, is not out of line,” Glenn said. “There are some places that charge $10,000 because they want the money for the meter and they want the first couple of months of usage.”

The monthly connection fee, based on a 3-inch meter service, is $51.13 inside the city and $102.25 outside the city for the first 3,000 gallons. The bulk water rate, as established by current city resolution, is $2.24 per 1,000 gallons. The meter relocation fee, which could be done only by city staff, would depend on the time and equipment required.

Glenn said the policy covers only meters needed for construction and maintenance projects. If individuals call the city asking for a large amount of water for filling up a residential water pool, the city has different procedures and equipment it uses for those requests.

Community Development Direct Kevin Maevers presented the proposed ordinance about energy conservation codes.

Maevers said that the city must adopt the 2018 New Mexico Residential and Commercial Conservation Code to comply with state law. The state code, in turn, adopts the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code.

“Our friends up in Santa Fe are fond of adding additional codes,” Maevers said, “and, of course, we are required to add those codes by reference.”

City Attorney Parker Patterson said the new election ordinance is needed after the 2018 New Mexico Legislature replaced the municipal election act with the Local Election Act, which was amended in 2019.

“The interesting thing about the way the Local Election Act works that it is not specific to municipalities the way the previous code sections were,” Patterson said.

Unlike some New Mexico municipal governments, the city of Roswell did not “opt in” under the Local Elections Act, which would have the county government run municipal elections. Instead, it has chosen to continue to run its own separate municipal elections.

He said city officials are often confused about how to apply the general election code, which typically covers state partisan elections, for its own elections. He also said that some sections of the city’s existing code are outdated.

“We have taken an attempt to look at the Local Elections Act, take what the ordinance is and mesh it together, and kind of try to produce a document that will help us to do a local election,” he said.

The proposed ordinance covers such items as passing resolutions prior to the elections that announce election dates and polling places, policy on how to determine candidates’ residency and provisions on what information is included on ballots.

During the June 10 City Council, city councilors are expected to decide whether to hold public hearings during a future meeting about the proposed ordinances, after which votes could occur about whether to adopt them.

Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.