Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Confidence Fades in Water Co.'s Future.

Byline: Miguel Navrot Journal Staff Writer

Some Officials Want PNM To Take It Back

Optimism in 1995 over Santa Fe's public buyout of a privately held water company couldn't have been higher.

Urged by an overwhelmingly approved voter referendum two years earlier, City Hall took out $78 million in bonds and bought Sangre de Cristo Water Co. from Public Service Company of New Mexico. Councilors pledged a rate freeze until 2007 and prepared to guide water policy for the growing, desert city.

"It's a great day for the citizens of Santa Fe," proclaimed then-Councilor Art Sanchez, who had waged a 12-year campaign for public ownership of water. "They now control their own destiny."

So far, control has been anything but great.

In the past year alone, a severe drought and lingering billing problems have compounded revenue shortfalls, estimated at $3. …

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