Rio Rancho, New Mexico

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Rio Rancho is one of the five largest cities in New Mexico. Rio Rancho is located in central New Mexico just north of Albuquerque. It is a part of the Albuquerque Metropolitan Statistical Area. It resides in Sandoval County with the exception of a small portion into northern Bernalillo County. As of 2010, its population is 87,521.[1]

Website evaluation

See also: Evaluation of New Mexico city websites

This Web site was most recently evaluated an unknown date.

The good

  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.
    • Budgets are archived for 5 years.[2]
  • Administrative Officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.[3]
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided including a mailing address and phone numbers.
  • Elected Officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[4]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived for 4 years.
    • Meeting agendas are archived for 4 years.
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.
    • Meeting videos are available.[5]
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.
    • Audits dating back to 2007 are available.[6]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.[7]
    • Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.[8]
    • Union agreements are posted.[9]
  • Public Records
    • The public information officer is identified and maintained by the City Clerk. This person provides a mailing address and phone number.[10]
    • A public records form is provided.
    • A fee schedule for documents is provided.
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state, and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.[11][12]
    • Residents are able to pay taxes online.
  • Lobbying
    • Lobbying contract is posted.[13]
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.[14]
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[15]

The bad

  • Administrative Officials
    • Personalized email addresses are not provided.
  • Public Records
    • Personalized email is not provided for City Clerk.


The Fiscal Year 2012 budget spends $58,056,222 which is a 2.4% increase over FY2011. The revenue is estimated to be $58,056,222.[16]

Expenditure Amount Increase/Decrease
Personnel Services $39,569,046 4.70%
Materials and Services $11,109,995 12.70%
Capital Outlay $140,293 157.20%
Fund Balance $6,873,888 -13.90%
Transfers $363,000 -25.10%
Total $58,056,222 2.40%


Rio Rancho has received almost $18 million in stimulus funds.[17] The city website lists the costs and objective of each project here.

Public Employees

Elected Officials

The city council is made up of six members representing separate districts and a mayor elected at large. Elections are held every four years and the city council has staggered elections.[18]

Mayor Swisstack's “Conversations with Mayor Swisstack” is a television program that airs on public, education and government channels. He does a new episode every four weeks.[19]

Swisstack has said that Rio Rancho deserves more state representation when redistricting takes place. As of now only one state representative represents Rio Rancho as it is split among senatorial districts. He has called for one more state representative and a state senator for Rio Rancho.[20]

City Councilor Michael Williams has proposed banning front lawns on new houses and businesses to conserve water.[21]

Administrative Officials

Under the "Council-Manager" form of city government, elected officials appoint a city manager to oversee the day to day operations of the city. Rio Rancho's city manager is James C. Jimenez and he earns $150,010 a year.[22]

The city clerk is Roman Montoya and he earns $70,194 a year. The city clerk is responsible for processing legislation, public records requests, city code, and city elections.[23]


See also: New Mexico state government salary

The FY2012 budget allocates $39,569,04 to salaries and benefits which is a 5% increase over FY2011.[24]

The city website posts all employee salaries here.


See also: New Mexico public pensions

City employees are enrolled in New Mexico's Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA). PERA's cost to the city was $6,112,882 in 2011. The following table outlines contribution percentages for employees and employers.[25]

Employee Type Employee Contribution Employer Contribution
General 2.29% 16.01%
Law Enforcement 4.07% 30.73%
Fire/EMS 4.05% 33.40%

Emergency personnel

The FY2012 budget allocates $16,884,963 for the police budget and $9,376,633 for the fire and rescue budget.

Fire Chief James Tobin resigned in August 2011 citing health issues. Since May, 6 firefighters have been under an investigation for sexual harassment hazing. Tobin claims that threats from the city contributed to the health issues. In the interim, Assistant Fire Chief Michael Meek will serve as Chief.[26]

Joshua Roney, a Rio Rancho firefighter, has resigned after an arrest for suspicion of drunken driving. Roney was one of three firefighters placed on paid leave for an alleged hazing of a new firefighter in 2010.[27]


See also: New Mexico government sector lobbying

The most recent lobbying contract was signed in November of 2009 with Scott Scanland of New Mexico Government Affair to lobby the New Mexico state legislature on behalf of Rio Rancho. The cost was not to exceed $28,380 annually.[28]

Transparency & public records

The Rio Racho web site has a Request to Inspect Public Records Form posted here. The city clerk is the custodian of public records.

Rio Rancho 360 is a web page that contains links transparency information such as financial records and salary information. It can be found here.


The revenue projection in the FY 2012 budget is estimated to be $58,056,222.[29]

Revenue Source Amount Increase/Decrease
Property Tax $12,010,565 2%
Gross Receipts Tax $25,164,295 4%
Franchise Fees $3,138,828 2%
Intergovernmental $412,506 -40%
Charges for Services $4,707,372 3%
Fines $1,068,750 -3%
Miscellaneous $2,944,902 -17%
Other $102,502 -87%
Beg. Balance $7,987,140 57%
Licenses $519,362 -13%
Total $58,056,222 5%

Property tax rates every year since 2000 can be found here.

Gross receipts tax rates since 1982 can be found here.

In 2011, the gross receipts tax will go up by .25 percent. The tax increase brings the tax from 7.1875 to 7.4375 percent to help close a $3.6 million budget shortfall.[30]

An IRS audit revealed that Rio Rancho owes the IRS over $19k from failure to withhold social security taxes for the mayor and three city councilors over two years.[31] In late July the city requested that the IRS audit be repeated to re-calculate the amount owed after city officials questioned some of the findings.[32]

External links


  1. Census
  2. City of Rio Rancho, Budgets, Accessed: Feb 18, 2013
  3. City of Rio Rancho, Staff Directory, Accessed: Feb 18, 2013
  4. City of Rio Rancho, Elected Officials, Accessed: Feb 18, 2013
  5. City of Rio Rancho, Meeting Minutes, Agendas, Calendar, and Videos, Accessed: Feb 18, 2013
  6. City of Rio Rancho, Audits, Accessed: Feb 18, 2013
  7. City of Rio Rancho, RFPs, Accessed: Feb 18, 2013
  8. City of Rio Rancho, Contracts, Accessed: Feb 18, 2013
  9. City of Rio Rancho, Union Agreements, Accessed: Feb 18, 2013
  10. City of Rio Rancho, Public Records Inspection Requests, Accessed: Feb 18, 2013
  11. City of Rio Rancho, Gross Receipts Tax Rate, Accessed: Feb 18, 2013
  12. City of Rio Rancho, Property Taxes, Accessed: Feb 18, 2013
  13. City of Rio Rancho, Lobbying Contract, Accessed: Feb 18, 2013
  14. City of Rio Rancho, Zoning, Accessed: Feb 18, 2013
  15. City of Rio Rancho, Building Permits, Accessed: Feb 18, 2013
  16. FY2012 Budget
  17. Stimulus
  18. City Council
  19. Rio Rancho KOB "Mayor Swisstack is back"
  20. Rio Rancho Observer "Swisstack wants more state representation in redistricting"
  21. KOAT "Council Member Pushes For Front Lawn "
  22. City Manager
  23. City Clerk
  24. FY2012 Budget
  25. Personnel
  26. KOAT "Rio Rancho Fire Dept. Recovering From Controversies"
  27. KOAT "Rio Rancho Firefighter Quits After Arrest"
  28. Lobbying Contract
  29. FY2012 Budget
  30. Rio Rancho Observer "City’s gross reciepts tax rises in 2011"
  31. ABQ Journal "Rio Rancho To Pay IRS Over $19K"
  32. Rio Rancho Observer "City asks IRS to repeat audit"