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03-23-1999v a LOWER RIO GRANDE WATER USERS ORGANIZATION MINUTES March 23, 1999 The Lower Rio Grande Water Users Organization met at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 23, 1999, at 200 N. Church St., Las Cruces, NM. LRGWUO Board Members Present: Chairperson Ruben Smith, City of Las Cruces Gary Esslinger, EBID Gilbert Bartlett, Village of Hatch Cesario Alvillar, Town of Mesilla Dr. Tom Bahr, Director, WRRI, NMSU Pat Banegas, Anthony NM Others Present: Naren N. Gunaji, ISC Jesus Nava, City of Las Cruces Robert Monday, City of Las Cruces Clay Dillman, Town of Mesilla Ken Needham, Parson's Engineering Len Stokes, PES Albert Racelis, Dona Ana County Cesar Ramos, Dona Ana County Chairperson Smith called the meeting to order at 2:08 p.m. 1) Approval of Minutes for January 6, 1999 The motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes for the January 6, 1999 meeting. Mr. Oscar Butler of Dona Ana Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association requested clarification on a statement in the minutes regarding the membership status of DAMDWCA to the Lower Rio Grande Water Users Organization. Mr. Butler stated that he believed the LRGWUO had voted to include DAMDWCA as a participating member contrary to the minutes stating that the Joint Powers Agreement must be amended before this happening. As there was some confusion over the actions taken by the LRGWUO at the previous meeting, Chairman Smith requested and was granted concurrence from the Organization members to approve the minutes and then proceed with discussion of the issue. The minutes were approved as presented. L J LRGWUO Minutes March 23, 1999 Page 2 of 4 Discussion proceeded regarding the issue of amending the Joint Powers Agreement. Dr. Bahr stated that the by -laws of the organization stated that DAMDWCA must sign a joint powers agreement with the LRGWUO to become a participating member. Mr. Esslinger asked that DAMDWCA solicit support from the other members of the Dona Ana County Alliance of Water & Wastewater Providers to allow Dona Ana Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association to represent all of the members of the Alliance. The LRGWUO agreed to include DAMDWCA if they would get permission to represent all Alliance members. DAMDWCA opposed this action, as they believed that there were no restrictions or stipulations to their belonging. The consensus of the LRGWUO was that one Alliance member should represent all Alliance members. Discussion followed. DAMDWCA stated that they felt they were accepted into the Organization unconditionally. The LRGWUO accepted DAMDWCA as representative for all members of the Dona Ana County Alliance of Water & Wastewater Providers. Mr. Monday will work with Ms. Driggers and the City's legal department to amend the Joint Powers Agreement. Draft copies will be mailed to LRGWUO members. Ms. Driggers stated that a slot could be created on the Organization to represent all mutual domestic water associations. For billing purposes, they would be assessed as one group and the representative would then solicit a prorated share of the monetary assessment from other Alliance members. Mr. Butler stated that he felt that would be a problem and he could not do that. Dr. Bahr stated that LRGWUO by -laws state that a majority cannot force financial liability on others. Any contributions must be made voluntarily and approved by the representative governing boards. 2) NM /TX Water Commission Hector Gonzales, Ken Needham and Michael Fahy gave an update on NM /TX Water Commission activities. 2 U J LRGWUO Minutes March 23, 1999 Page 3 of 4 Mr. Gonzales stated that the Commission had been traveling to communities giving presentations in an attempt to increase awareness of the regional water plan. Mr. Needham presented an update of the water treatment siting plan for New Mexico. The EIS phase of the El Paso /Las Cruces Regional Sustainable Water Project requires that a specific location must be identified, as environmental studies must be complete before obtaining the necessary environmental clearances. The schedule requires that the site must be chosen by April 1999. Mr. Needham will be working with Mesilla, Hatch, and Anthony to determine the best site location and secure entry permission for site clearance and environmental studies. Mr. Needham stated that the steps to proceed are choosing a site, securing entry permission and negotiating site acquisition. Mr. Needham fielded questions. Mr. Butler of DAMDWCA voiced his concern in not being included and requested that they be included in any decision for placement of water treatment plants. Mr. Banegas asked if the April 30, 1999 deadline could be extended. Mr. Fahy stated that the deadline was driven by a timeline, which stated that the EIS be finished by the end of 1999, and the final completion date in April 2000. Chairperson Smith asked if the LRGWUO had to take formal action on the site designation. Mr. Hayslett stated that he would appreciate the LRGWUO formalizing the selection. 3) Other Items of Interest Mr. Stokes gave a brief legislative update. He stated that House Bill 29 passed. This bill extends the terms for lease of the use of water from ten to forty years and extended the protection under the forty-year water plan to the mutual domestics, member owned community water systems. The bill included closing a loophole in the statute which dealt with conservation and public welfare as considerations that the state engineer would take when acting on applications. The Governor also signed the Aquifer Storage and Recovery Act or Ground Water Storage and Recovery Act. Chairperson Smith welcomed Mr. Gunaji who will be replacing Pauline Salopek on the ISC. C+ J LRGWUO Minutes March 23, 1999 Page 4 of 4 As there was no further business or discussion, the motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting. Mayor Smith adjourned the meeting at 3:20 p.m. APPROVAL: Ruben Smith, LRGWUO Chairperson 4