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It is back to the drawing board for review of Los Alamos County Charter sections that relate to the Department of Public Utilities.
Tuesday, the county council approved a new five person committee to review DPU’s oversight and accountability to council, whether it would be possible and advisable for profits to be returned to DPU, possibly for use by other utilities, and whether to incorporate additional utilities into DPU’s responsibilities.
The previous council rejected the Charter Review Committee’s recommendation for oversight and accountability, which would have allowed council to remove any or all board members without cause by a supermajority of 5-2. The previous council agreed that councilors must have more oversight, since they bear ultimate liability for DPU’s actions, and proposed appointing an ad hoc committee to study the issue.
The CRC made no recommendations regarding the issue of returning profits to the DPU. Those profits are currently directed to the general fund. In view of its recent approval of a significant sewer rate increase to pay for infrastructure, council wants to explore other alternatives, such as using profits from one utility to subsidize costs in another. The current charter prohibits that.
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