Editor’s note: The City of Rio Rancho is holding a city council and bond election on March 3, with early voting underway.
In District 2, appointed Councilor Jeremy Lenentine is running unopposed to finish the last two years of the term Dawnn Robinson was elected to but vacated when her family moved out of state.
Voters must reside in the city council districts in question to vote in those races. As per law, municipal elections are non-partisan.
For information on polling places, visit rrnm.gov/4405/Voting-Information.
In order to help our readers make informed decisions, the Observer gave each candidate a questionnaire to complete.
Responses were edited for format as necessary, but not for grammar, spelling, punctuation or accuracy. Candidates were held to a strict 550-word limit, and responses that were too long were cut from the bottom to be exactly 550 words long.
Jeremy Lenentine questionnaire
Contact information: [email protected]; 505-604-8128
1. What makes you the most qualified person to hold this seat? I have lived in Rio Rancho for 30 years and during that time I have developed a huge passion for this city. I understand the most pressing needs that people have in my area from the southern tip of my district (I lived there for 15 years) to the most northern tip. I am in the community constantly talking to people, building consensus and presenting their needs to the city staff and other councils members so we can get results.
2. If elected, what will your top priorities be and how will you accomplish them? Now that the city police and fire have full staffing and (if this bond passes) they will also have better equipment, I see my top priorities as roads and retail. We must put an end to the “food desert” that exists at the northern end of Rio Rancho. Retail needs to come up to Unser and King / Unser and Northern. We have already started to knock down some key barriers that stand in the way of this goal.
3. What do you think should be done about road construction and repairs in Rio Rancho, and how will you accomplish it? Long term- we must establish more retail tax revenue by getting more businesses to open up in Rio Rancho. We cannot force them to build here, but we sure can prove to them that we are open for business. Short term- we continue to make smart choices with the road bond money that the tax payers approve. We must also find a creative way to do more residential paving. The southern end of my district around Unser and 5th Street is in bad shape and the smaller residential roads need more attention than we are currently providing.
4. What will be your priorities, if any, for public safety if you’re elected? Since I am already in the office, I can tell you that we worked closely with both the fire chief and the police chief to get their top priorities into the safety bond and make a list of what they view as the next most important priorities. Shortly after being appointed as a city councilor, I was able to ride along with the fire chief and personally view the fire stations and really see firsthand what they needed and what should be improved. I am very impressed by our chiefs and I trust their judgment for their respective departments.
5. If elected, what will you do to encourage economic development in Rio Rancho? There are a few key intersections that need development work in order to be more “shovel ready”. I believe we should work together with developers to make these areas ready. We also have changed our approach to be more development friendly, and we have hired well in our economic department. Instead of sitting back and waiting for a knock on our door, we are actively knocking and making a case for why businesses should choose Rio Rancho.
6. What is your stance on the water and wastewater system and rates? If residents have been paying attention they know that some good things have been happening. The aquifer injection site, which is the first of its kind in New Mexico, is pumping a million gallons of treated water a day back into the aquifer. We also have a solar array that powers the city’s water treatment plant. This solar power saves the city over $100,000 a year. As to our water rates, we are in the process of replacing water pipes all throughout our city. This is a necessary evil and it has a price tag. We also do live in a desert so scarcity of a resource always results in a higher price point. There are