The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Melrose taking steps to leave ENMWUA


July 24, 2019

MELROSE — The village of Melrose is taking the first steps to leaving the Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority.

Melrose Mayor Barry Green confirmed Monday he was sending a letter to Authority Executive Director Orlando Ortega on the village’s intent, which was decided by a 5-0 vote at the July 11 village council meeting.

Green, who only votes to break ties, said the matter wouldn’t come as a surprise to authority members, as he had discussed the possibility with Ortega in the days leading up to the vote.

“It comes down to finances, basically,” Green said. He estimated Melrose’s financial commitment is about $18,000 annually, and noted the cost will go up as construction progresses.

Green said he and the council weren’t sure on the steps or the time that would be required to exit the authority, and have instructed village attorney Stephen Doerr to find out the next step.

Ortega said he harbored no negative feelings towards Melrose, but deferred any other comments to authority members. Attempts to contact Doerr were unsuccessful.

Though members have come and gone over the project’s many decades, Melrose’s departure would be the first for a member of the authority created in the 2010 state legislative session via House Bill 215. The Ute Water Authority, a predecessor to ENMWUA, acted as a joint powers agreement between the member communities.

Membership in the seven-member authority is constructed with weight given to financial stakes in the project — three voting members to Clovis, two to Portales, one to Curry County and one that rotates among the smaller-stake participants Elida, Grady, Melrose and Texico.

The legislation does not outline any processes for the addition or withdrawal of authority members.

The authority operates the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System, also known as the Ute Water Project. The project involves creating a pipeline system to connect member communities and distribute any water purchased from private landowners; in the long-term, it plans to connect to the Ute Reservoir in Quay County.

The authority’s next scheduled meeting is 3 p.m. Tuesday at the authority office at 801 Pile St.


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