By Cassie McClure
Published in the Las Cruces Sun-News 1/3/21
A group of citizens provides oversight to major improvement to the City of Las Cruces (CLC) infrastructure. The Capital Improvements Advisory Committee (CIAC) members advise and assist the City with their capital improvements plan, for which impact fees may be assessed. The group monitors and evaluates the implementation of the projects that affect residents throughout the City. Get to know your CIAC members who may help shape the future of Las Cruces.
Jason Lorenz, CIAC Chair
Jason Lorenz has been in the homebuilding industry since 2007 and has owned Veloz Homes since 2012.
“I have seen the effects of impact fees on my industry as well as for new home buyers,” Lorenz said. “CIAC is here to provide oversight on how the City uses some of the taxpayer’s capital.”
“Although few residents are aware that our Committee exists, the work we do to protects the money they pay in taxes and in fees. It can affect how much they pay in utility bills and even their mortgage payments,” Lorenz said. “The impact fees we advise the City Council about are used for parks and recreation, police and fire, and even utilities – our recommendation for utilities go before the Utilities Board of Commissioners who then recommend to the City Council, so I feel every resident is affected in some small way by the decisions we make and the guidance we provide to the city government.”
Adam Roberts, PE
Roberts is a civil/structural engineer with a background in construction, which he says helps him visualize the process of the projects that utilize the impact fees.
“The intent of CIAC is to ensure that the impact fees are being used properly and in a timely manner,” Roberts said. “These fees and their utilization are important to the growth of our community and economy.”
Also the current Chair of the Las Cruces Utilities’ (LCU) Utility Customer Advisory Group, Suttmiller came from a background of early education and education administration.
“Dealing with school budgets, which included the ever-increasing cost of utilities, had a positive impact in preparing me to serve,” Suttmiller said.
Mark O’Neill has been involved with different community affairs since he moved to Las Cruces in 2016. He has served as a member of Elevate Las Cruces Comprehensive Plan and eight years on the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board, including as Chair.
“CIAC is an important voice for the citizens and developers,” O’Neill said. “I want to make sure fees levied on its citizens are not increased unless a clear case is made that they must be.”
Steve Newby, A.I.A.
Owner of Steve Newby Architects and Associates, Newby has overseen the completion of over $450 million of public and private commissions including CLC Downtown Plaza, CLC Convention Center, CLC Aquatic Center, Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority (MVRDA) 911 Center, Camino Real Middle School, and the New Mexico State University and Sonoma Ranch Golf Clubhouses.
“And formerly the world’s longest zip line at Ski Apache, only recently eclipsed by a zip line in the United Arab Emirates,” said Newby, who was also the founder and president of the Las Cruces Downtown Partnership for 18 years.
Due to COVID-19, the meetings - every third Thursday at 1:30 p.m. - are currently held via the Zoom Webinar platform, which provides the public the opportunity to participate. Public comments or questions can be emailed to CIACAdminSupport@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 left to bottom) CIAC members: Jason Lorenz (Chair), Adam Roberts, Eugene Suttmiller, (Top right to bottom) Mark O’Neill, and Steve Newby.