Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Empty Trustee Seat in Los Ranchos

During the short subdued meeting, trustees also chatted about pay raises and what will happen if the Village’s levees fail


Au Revior

In a surprise move, Village of Los Ranchos Trustee Allen Lewis resigned effective at the end of August. Lewis was in his first term.

Mayor Don Lopez said during the meeting that he resigned for family reasons. Trustee Lewis’ seat was already up for grabs for the November election as he chose to not run for another term.

Lewis moved to the Village in 1960 and attended Los Ranchos Elementary, Taft Middle School and Valley High School. The Village website says he is currently involved in real estate with a focus on urban infill. His rational voice during these turbulent times will surely be missed.

Trustee Talk

Trustees Gilbert Benavidez, George Radnovich and Sandra Pacheco expressed their respect and what a bummer it is that Lewis resigned. They noted his business sense and compassion among other general praise.

Village Clerk Danielle Sedillo-Molina announced that the League of Women Voters will host two candidate forums for the village. The first will be for the two trustee races and is set for Oct. 16, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The mayor’s forum will be held a couple days later on Oct. 18 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.. Both will be held at the village hall and will be streamed through its website. Sedillo-Molina said folks should keep checking the village website election page for updates.

More Bucks For Some

Trustees approved publicly posting an ordinance change that will raise pay for future mayors and trustees—something that hasn’t happened since December 2003. The mayor currently makes $1,000 a month. Trustees currently rake in a whopping 50 bucks for their regular once-a-month meetings. The proposed change would bump the mayor’s annual pay to$31,200. This would bring the pay up to par with other similar communities. The measure proposes trustees get $200 a month if they attend the regular meeting and an extra $50 fee for any special meetings. These changes do not go into the pockets of the sitting governing board. This is only for newly elected officials that will be sworn in after the November election. That means two of the four trustees will be paid the new rate while the other two get the same measly $50.

It’s hard to argue against the raises for these elected positions. The jobs of mayor and trustee are 24/7 and often thankless l. And who knows, maybe this will also spur younger and more representative residents to consider running for office if they can get paid a fair wage.

Levee Love

Trustees agreed to apply for $4.5 million in funding for 3.1 miles of levee repair from the Water Trust Board. The village already has some money on hand from other sources but not nearly enough. Mayor Lopez said the levees are 70-plus years old and are filled with rodent holes and roots. According to engineers, if the river reaches 10,000 cubic feet per second, which is only 25% percent of the capacity of the river, it would be enough to cause the levees to fail. A breach would likely cause a catastrophic flooding of the entire Village, but also all the way to downtown Albuquerque.

Paging Albuquerque city leaders: Maybe the big-city neighbor would like to pitch in to get this job done sooner rather than later, especially since bizarre climate changes are upon us and even our often paltry Rio Grande has been known to flood its banks.

Cop Watch

The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s office filed a report that offered a glimpse into what happens here in the village crime-wise. In July, there were 28 alarm calls, four auto thefts, three burglaries, 10 crashes, 51 disturbances, 21 suspicious persons/vehicles, 52 traffic stops, 6 vandalisms and 158 welfare checks.

Since speeding seems to be a habit in the village, the breakdown on where the traffic stops occurred are as follows - 20 cars were pulled over on Fourth Street, another 10 on North Fourth Street, four on Rio Grande Blvd. and 18 on other village roads. That’s a good start as speeders make traversing across the village stressful. One can only hope the lead feet belong to cut-through cars and not those of village residents.

Public Speak

The award for the best public comments during the meeting goes to long-time village resident Christian Reedy who called Paseo del Norte “the noisiest, most god-forsaken autobahn out there”. He spoke of the changes he has seen living in the village. “Now there are a lot of outside forces affecting the Village,” he said. “And we are lost out here.”

Keep Up

The next regular meeting of the trustees is set for 7 p.m., Oct. 11. For Los Ranchos government happenings check out


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