THUMBS DOWN! PNM AND ITS PROFITS. A recent report shows that Public Service Company of New Mexico is enjoying some strong earnings these days, thanks in large part to the higher retail rates it’s charging its customers. Meanwhile, another report, by five nonprofit citizen groups, took a look at PNM’s revenues, profits and expenditures from 2008 to 2012 and found that the utility increased its compensation to executives while increasing its rates on its customers — during tough times to boot.
“PNM is behaving like a big Wall Street bank,” Mariel Nanasi, executive director of the environmental group New Energy Economy, said in a statement. Sure sounds that way.
THUMBS UP! TAKING ACTION. Construction of Highlands University’s new student center has been problematic practically from the beginning, so we can’t blame the Board of Regents for its decision to sever the contract with Makwa Builders LLC and replace them, for expediency’s sake, with local contractor Franken Construction.
Something needed to be done to get the months-behind project moving toward completion.
This change in general contractors, however, shouldn’t give the university and Franken a license to send costs through the roof.
Hopefully, this $20 million project will be completed at or near the original projected cost.
THUMBS UP! STRIKING A BALANCE. The city’s Tree Board and the Design Review Board agreed it was best to remove some dead trees and trim back some others in the city’s parks, but when crews got started on the work, some citizens cried foul. That’s fine, but let’s consider the whole picture. While no one wants to see a tree-less city park, neither does anyone want limbs from dead or dying trees to come crashing down and injuring anyone.
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AND WE QUOTE
“We understand that it will take many years for them to grow into beautiful, big trees like those elms. ... But (the ones being removed) are dangerous — look at the front page of the Optic yesterday.”
— John Spencer, chair of the city’s Tree Board, referring to Monday’s photo and article about a tree that fell and damaged a mobile home late last week at McRae and Silva streets.