By Cassie McClure
Published in the Las Cruces Sun-News 10/11/20.
At Las Cruces Utilities (LCU), oversight to its projects and policies are guided by the Board of Commissioners for the City of Las Cruces Utilities (Board). The Board, established in December 2006, consists of seven Commissioners, two of whom are seated Las Cruces City Councilors, and five of whom are unpaid members of the public. Aside from the City Councilors, the Commissioners represent all rate payers and are sought to serve by having backgrounds in banking or finance, business, economics, or engineering. LCU invites the public to get to know their representatives on the Board.
Commissioner William M. Little (Current Chair)
William Little began serving on the Board in 2008, after a 40-year career in environmental consulting. A hydrologist by background and training, much of his career was spent dealing with the environmental consequences of past hazardous waste disposal.
“When the Board was established, our bond rating agency raised our rating, giving us access to lower interest rate bonds. This continues to save the City and ratepayers real money,” Little said.
Commissioner Edmund Archuleta (Current Vice-Chair)
With a bachelor’s and master’s degree in civil engineering with an emphasis in water resource management, Edmund Archuleta has over 50 years in water resources management. He has managed the water utilities in both Albuquerque and El Paso and has worked for three different consulting engineering companies while doing part-time work for two universities.
“The Commission is important to the public because we provide long-term strategic planning to ensure adequate utility services to the city,” Archuleta said.
City Councilor/Commissioner Gill Sorg
Serving on the Board since 2009, Gill Sorg has seen the development of utility-related issues over time, such as multiple rate reviews, the implementation of recycling, and the conversion to renewable energy sources.
“We weigh the information carefully, discuss options, and possibilities for each decision,” Sorg said. “Nothing is decided fast or without considering how it affects each customer and we always strive to provide the best possible service at the lowest cost.”
Commissioner Dr. Harry Hardee
Dr. Hardee spent nearly 30 years working at Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Hardee worked on nuclear weapons for about 10 years and geophysics programs dealing with advanced geothermal drilling and energy extraction. He also has over 100 peer-reviewed technical publications and several dozen patents.
“The Board is an excellent way for informed citizens to review important issues that affect our Utilities,” Hardee said. “The best part is that the Commissioners are willing to serve unpaid and therefore are under no business or political pressure in their decisions.”
The other current Commissioners are James Carmichael, Dr. Harry Johnson, and City Councilor Johana Bencomo. They will be profiled in a following article.
The public is encouraged to attend the Board meetings, which are typically held every second Thursday at 3 p.m. Due to COVID-19, the meetings are currently held via the Zoom Webinar platform, which provide the public the opportunity to participate. Public comment or questions can also be emailed to: UtilitiesCustomerComments@las-cruces.org
LCU can be reached at 575-528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
PHOTO 1: (Top to bottom) Board Chair William Little, Board Vice-Chair Edmund Archuleta, City Councilor Gill Sorg and Dr. Harry Hardee.