Letter to the Editor: The Utilities Issue

Los Alamos

With all the viewpoints pro and con regarding the utilities issue, it appears to me that John Arrowsmith, in his Oct. 9 letter to the Los Alamos Daily Post, zeroes in on the basic issue concerning the proposed change to Article 5 of the County charter: how much autonomy should the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) have. Right now it is a semi-independent entity. The proposed change to the charter could adversely affect its operation. Other former heads of the DPU concur.

Mr. Arrowsmith is one of the sharpest people Los Alamos County has ever been fortunate enough to have in County government as former head of the DPU. He is now retired and doesn’t really have a dog in this fight, but he still feels a responsibility to warn Los Alamos residents of the consequences of a “Yes” vote on Charter question 2 that will change that balance of power.

He is basing his recommendation on possible future misappropriation of Los Alamos utility funds as well as the track record of other New Mexico cities, such as Santa Fe and Farmington, whose councils have dipped into utility revenues to balance their budgets.

Los Alamos citizens should keep the 1968 version of the charter governing utilities that allows the DPU to operate as a nonprofit business, under the guidance of the Utilities Board, and provides a degree of separation between the County Council and the DPU that has benefited county residents for 46 years.