As a 23-year Rio Rancho resident and business owner, I would like to add my voice to the chorus of support for the creation of a permanent fund by the City of Rio Rancho.

Influential figures such as Sandoval County Commissioner Dave Heil (Observer, Jan. 28) and former Department of Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Scott Weaver (Observer, Feb. 11) have weighed in on how creating a permanent fund would be fiscally responsible, wise and visionary. I concur.

When my father passed away in 1997, I had the option of taking my inheritance and spending this one-time windfall on myself or investing it so that it could provide me returns long into the future.

I chose the latter, and opened Turtle Mountain Brewing Company, which has provided me and dozens of Rio Rancho residents with a good living over the past 23 years.

Voters in the City of Rio Rancho are faced with a similar decision on what to do with a one-time $10 million budgetary windfall.

The fiscally prudent decision should be to invest these funds by voting to create a permanent fund.

While significant financial return from the permanent fund won’t be realized until many years into the future, voters in the City of Vision must act today for the benefit not just of themselves, but of generations to come.

The planning for Albuquerque’s San Juan/Chama Drinking Water Project began in the early 1990s, but the actual water treatment plant was not completed until November 2008, some 15 years after planning began.

Those visionary city officials knew the benefit of such an idea wouldn’t be realized for many years to come, but that it needed to happen for the future benefit of all citizens.

The same is true in this case.

According to the City of Rio Rancho, it costs $1.5 million to reconstruct 1 mile of residential roadway, without replacing or updating utilities. That one-time $10 million could be spent on reconstructing approximately 6.67 miles of residential roads.

There are over 800 miles of paved roads within the city borders. Reconstructing 6.67 miles of that total is just a drop in the bucket. And that money would be gone forever.

Or we could invest that $10 million by voting to establish a permanent fund.

After 10 years, this fund will grow to $14.4 million and contribute $457,000 to the general fund, and after 25 years it will be worth $23.7 million and contribute $752,000 to the general fund.

Over the course of 25 years, the permanent fund will grow by 238 percent and contribute $12.99 million to the general fund, all without raising taxes or increasing fees.

Voting to establish a permanent fund is what we in the business world call a “no-brainer.” There is no downside and nothing but upside.

Opportunities such as this are truly “once-in-a-lifetime,” as Scott Weaver wrote in his letter. Let’s all take full advantage of this chance to benefit the citizens of Rio Rancho for generations to come.

Vote “Yes” on Charter Amendment Question 6 this March 1.

Nico Ortiz, owner
Turtle Mountain Brewing Company
Rio Rancho