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RR housing, commercial growth on rise, mayor says

Over the past year, the City of Rio Rancho has seen a boom in retail and customer service jobs, an increase in residential development and big strides in completing projects for the public, such as the upkeep of city roads and completing A Park Above.

Those are among the highlights cited in Mayor Gregg Hull’s annual State of the City report released Friday.

A copy of the five-page report was posted on the city’s website, rrnm.gov, as both a PDF and a YouTube video. It runs through a list of the city’s accomplishments over the past year, as well as future goals for the city.

The report also remembers the lives lost of fallen Rio Rancho Police officers Anthony Haase and Gregg “Nigel” Benner, both of whom died in the line of duty.

The mayor cites the openings of Walmart Neighborhood Market, New Mexico Orthopedics, 7-11/Alon, Hangar Prosthetics and Plaza @ Enchanted Hills, saying they “help diversify and fortify our economy.”

He also calls attention to Rio Rancho’s customer service companies, including S&P Data, Alliance Data, Bank of America, Convergys and Intersections. The coming Presbyterian Rust Medical Center’s $86 million expansion, a Nusenda Credit Union, Taco Cabana and Chick-Fil-A are also highlighted.

“All of these projects are tremendous for Rio Rancho because they mean jobs and revenue generation to fund public services,” he said. “Activity like this creates a buzz about the community that helps attract more interest from other businesses looking to expand and open new operations or relocate.”

The city’s residential development grew in the past year, Hull said, with 479 single-family home permits issued in the 2014 calendar year. Construction of the Solcito subdivision, the Mariposa community, and the senior-living center The Neighborhood are noted.

Improvements to the city’s road infrastructure have been made, he said, including widening NM 528 from Southern Boulevard to Ridgecrest Drive. Hull said the next year will see the reconstruction of Idalia Road and the extension of Broadmoor Boulevard from Norwich Road to Paseo del Volcan. Reconstruction of Southern Boulevard, Hull said, is approaching its first phase.

“This year’s budget includes $1.7 million to serve as the city’s match in order to access $7 million in federal funds. These federal funds will be accessible in late 2017/early 2018 with work starting shortly thereafter,” he said. “The city will continue to pursue funding options and explore all avenues in order to fund the remaining reconstruction phases of Southern Boulevard.”

The city’s general fund reserves are projected to close the year at 17.2 percent of expenditures, Hull said, which is above both the state’s requirement of 8.3 percent and the city’s policy target of 15 percent.

Hull recognized the soon-to-open A Park Above, saying he wanted to thank all of the businesses and individuals who donated their time and/or money to the project. He commended “all those who have supported this project from day one, through thick and thin.”

Looking forward, Hull said the city’s strategic plan regarding the city’s future goals is in need of an update.

“In the coming year, I will be working with the city manager and governing body on a systematic, scalpel-like approach to revise and refine this document,” he said. “Updating this document is critically important because it serves as a roadmap for a variety of public policy decisions.”