Utility rates could soon go up in Roswell

ROSWELL, N.M. — The City of Roswell is in debt and leaders say one way to help is to have people pay more for their water and trash pickup.

“They have not maintained current and correct what they needed to be. So there are somewhat water funds. I think the last time we visited water was in 2013,” said Tim Jennings, the mayor of Roswell.

“From April 2017, until November 2021, there was a slight increase. Ever since then, it has been flat,” said Abraham Chapparo, the director of Solid Waste.

Residents could see at least a 25% increase in their bill.

“It kind of scares me because I have people in this building that have a lease. They already have their price set for that time that they’re going to be here. So some of them can be two years, and some of them can be four years before I can even look at raising their rent. It’s going to be pretty uncomfortable for us because we have to take on that burden of the payment of making that extra. Whatever they decide the amount is going to be, this building doesn’t use a very small amount,” said Clarissa Gonzalez, the co-owner of Zia Select.

Mayor Jennings says the city is looking at all possibilities to make it fair for the whole community. However, city workers say they have to act now.

“We either have to pay for it now or pay for it later. And when we’re paying for it later when things start breaking, it gets more expensive if we have to do it on an emergency basis, rather than in an organized manner,” said Robert Glenn, the Superintendent for Water Maintenance and Transmission for the City of Roswell.

Some of the money will go toward old infrastructure. The city will also use some of the money to pay off the debt that has been accumulating for the past two years because people have not paid their utilities.

“When people don’t pay the entire city shares that burden,” Chaparro said.

Chaparro says the city will also save some of the money for the enterprise fund.

“It’s so we can be self-funded like an enterprise fund should be. So we can maintain their financial stability and not pull from the general fund and not hinder the rest of the city. So we can stand alone,” he said.

“It’s very difficult. It’s hard to make these decisions. But we have to do it,” the mayor said.

If the proposal goes as planned, people can expect to see the price hike starting in July.