By Cassie McClure and Suzanne Michaels
Did you know the number of water quality calls to Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) has dropped significantly from three years ago? Did you know our community diverted 3,241 tons of green waste this past year? It was recycled into composted mulch and given back to the community for free, instead of being buried in the landfill. Did you know 23,000 customers were assisted in their utility billing with a Preferred Payment Date? These are statistics you can see in the 2018-2019 LCU Annual Report.
“It’s not just statistics that fill the pages, but a long-term view of how this City department is moving ahead with Peak Performance and measurable goals,” said Jorge A. Garcia, Ph.D., P.E., who is LCU director.
Included in the Report are parts of the Strategic Business Plan, which has identified key utility issues, like an aging utility infrastructure and an increased demand for services, with clear goals to achieve lasting results.
Reaching many of those goals has already been set into motion by the LCU Board of Commissioners reviewing the Action Plan to implement the 40-Year Water Development Plan during the next five years. This year’s completion of the new Water Quality Laboratory accomplished goals to extend and increase the capacity of laboratory services at the Jacob Hands Wastewater Treatment Facility.
Goals include key results for LCU staff like:
- 90 percent of locating and mapping program work orders will be completed within five business days,
- 90 percent of commercial solid waste containers will be repaired within one business day, and
- 85 percent of Utilities emergency calls are to be dispatched within a 10-minute timeframe.
The Annual Report lays out the priorities of all of the LCU Lines of Business, which include not only natural gas, water, wastewater, and solid waste but also technical support, regulatory and environmental services, and business services. Contact names and numbers for all the different LCU Lines of Business can be found in the Report.
Customers will find detailed information not only about improvements that have taken place over the past year, but also briefs on issues like the water rate increase. City Council approved the overall revenue increase of the $3.8 million to fund increases in operating and capital expenditures and debt coverage requirements.
“LCU is very transparent with costs and how customers are impacted,” Dr. Garcia said. “Utilities operates as an Enterprise Fund, with revenue from customers allowing us to provide services and maintain the delivery of water and gas, along with the removal of solid waste and wastewater. We’re happy to try and help residents with any questions they might have with our report.”
The 2018-2019 LCU Annual Report can be found online at: http://www.las-cruces.org/2058/Annual-Reports.
You can reach Las Cruces Utilities at 528-3500 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Las Cruces Utilities provides NATURAL GAS – WATER – WASTEWATER – SOLID WASTE services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
The 2018-2019 LCU Annual Report details not only new statistics of natural gas, water, wastewater, and solid waste Lines of Business, but also communicates the strategic goals that allow LCU to meet the challenges of a growing population.
Note: This story was published in the Las Cruces Sun-News on Oct. 20, 2019.