UNM-LA wants break on electric rates

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By Jennifer Garcia

One good turn deserves another, at least that’s what members of the UNM-LA Advisory Board think when it comes to electric rate increases.
A few weeks ago, Los Alamos Public Schools Purchasing Manager June Gladney addressed the county council, asking that the school district be exempted from the utility rate increase being proposed by the county’s utilities department.
A few months ago, LAPS also asked to be forgiven on an old utility debt.
During Monday night’s UNM-LA Advisory Board meeting, board member Marie Chiravalle said she felt if council forgives the school district of its debt, they should forgive UNM-LA as well.
“It would cost us $3,700 if they raised it,” Chiravalle said. “This is just for electricity for next year. We’re struggling just as much as the schools are struggling.”
Chiravalle said that even though UNM-LA raised tuition by 9 percent, the school did not get any of that money.
“The state took all of the 9-percent increase in tuition. Here we are, struggling and cutting across-the-board,” she said.
Chiravalle said it didn’t matter to her whether it was two cents that the school was forgiven.
“If you’re going to forgive it for one school
system, you should do it for the other. This is a Pandora’s Box. If you open it for one, you open it for anyone,” she said.
Board Member Ron Dolin said that he thought of sending a letter to county council regarding the rate increase.
However, UNM-LA Executive Director Cedric Page said that he would have to do some research into the matter before the university asked council for anything.
“I need to check with the utilities director as to the legality of this,” Page said.
The board did not take any action and will wait for Page to speak with county Utilities Director John Arrowsmith.