2015 Rate Increase Letter


At the recent monthly meeting of the Big Mesa Association in May, the Water Board reviewed the fiscal year 2014 financial performance of the utility and applied the financial budgetary line items for the upcoming next fiscal year (2015) into the State of NM’s Water Rate Calculator. The results were not favorable. Please review the 2015 Budget and the DWB Financial Calculator on our Website (bigmesa-nm.com). It calculated a loss of $13,491 for the current fiscal year (2014). It also forecast continued losses of $22,410 in 2016fy, $12,050 in 2017fy, and $2,422 in 2018fy; even with a rate increase this year!

Your Water Board is responsible to ensure its members a continued supply of safe drinking water well into the future. If we don’t have water, we don’t have anything. So the Board must not just consider “break even” financial performance of the utility but all the vulnerabilities that threaten that responsibility. The most severe of which include; potential new or revised Federal and/or State Environmental Drinking Water requirements, and major repair/replacement of any portion of the utility’s aging 45 year-old system.

Yes, we have some existing financial capability to overcome some operational or emergency issues, but we must plan to build reserve funds for future system improvements and replacements (something prior Boards have never addressed). The DWB Financial Calculator takes estimated reserve requirements into consideration in its calculations. The only way to prepare ourselves for the future is with increased revenues, built over time, for reserve projects. That can only be gained by either a monthly rate increase or a big assessment per project. It would be unfair to our members to receive an unplanned for big assessment bill when the Association needs a new water storage tank, or a new water treatment process (demanded by the government), or a major water line replaced! These are hundreds-of- thousands-of-dollar projects, or more, and would require quick payment by every Member for their portion.

The Board realizes the limited nature of member’s finances these days and the Board does not take increasing rates lightly. But after careful review and analysis, the Board has decided to increase by $4 the monthly rate charged for water and trash starting with the July 2015 billing cycle. Your monthly base rate for up to 5,000 gallons as well as trash and state taxes will total just over $45. The cost of exceeding the 5,000 gallon limit remains the same at 1 cent per gallon, charged in 1,000 gallon allotments, or $10 per extra 1,000 gallons used (or increment thereof).

As hopefully you realize, Big Mesa has had only 1 prior rate increase since the year 2000! This will make only 2 rate increases in a 15 year period! What other utility, commodity, or item do you know of that has had so few increases in cost? Even with the $4 increase, the water utility cost is relatively inexpensive. Phone and TV utility costs far exceed it, as do most electrical and even propane monthly costs. So Conchas remains a relatively inexpensive place to live for all of us, while the lake provides us such a wonderful amenity!

Please plan to attend the annual Big Mesa meeting, focused on the election of vacating Water Board seats, to be held on Saturday, June 20th, at 10am at the Water Building. As well you are most welcome to attend every monthly meeting held the second Saturday of each month at 8am at the Water Building, through the summer season. We look forward to your input and seeing you soon at a Water Board Meeting.

Your 2015 Big Mesa MDWCA Water Board

Sincerely, Your 2015 Big Mesa MDWCA Water Board

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