2019 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 73 - Special Districts
Article 21 - Water and Sanitation Districts
Section 73-21-16 - General powers.

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 73-21-16 (2019)

For and on behalf of the district, the board shall have the following powers:

A. to have perpetual existence;

B. to have and use a corporate seal;

C. to sue and be sued and be a party to suits, actions and proceedings;

D. except as otherwise provided in the Water and Sanitation District Act to enter into contracts and agreements affecting the affairs of the district, including contracts with the United States and any of its agencies or instrumentalities. Except in cases in which a district will receive aid from a governmental agency, a notice shall be published for bids on all construction contracts for work or material or both involving an expense of five thousand dollars ($5,000) or more. The district may reject any and all bids, and, if it appears that the district can perform the work or secure material for less than the lowest bid, it may proceed to do so;

E. to borrow money and incur indebtedness and evidence the indebtedness by certificates, notes or debentures and to issue bonds in accordance with the provisions of that act;

F. to acquire, dispose of and encumber real and personal property, water rights, water and sewer works and plants and any interest in them, including leases and easements;

G. to refund any bonded indebtedness or revenue bonds of the district without an election in accordance with the provisions of that act;

H. to have the management, control and supervision of all the business and affairs of the district and the construction, installation, operation and maintenance of district improvements;

I. to hire and retain agents, employees, engineers and attorneys;

J. to have and exercise the power of eminent domain and dominant eminent domain and, in the manner provided by law for the condemnation of private property for public use, to take any property necessary to the exercise of the powers granted in that act, both within and without the district;

K. to construct and maintain works and establish and maintain facilities across or along any public street or highway and in, upon or over any vacant public lands, which public lands are now or may become the property of the state, and to construct works and establish and maintain facilities across any stream of water or watercourse; provided, however, that the district shall promptly restore any such street or highway to its former state of usefulness as nearly as may be and shall not use the street or highway in such manner as to completely or unnecessarily impair its usefulness;

L. to fix and from time to time to increase or decrease water and sewer rates, tolls or charges for services or facilities furnished or made available by the district, including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, standby charges for both water and sewers, and to pledge that revenue for the payment of any indebtedness of the district. Until paid, all rates, tolls or charges constitute a perpetual lien on and against the property served, and any such lien may be foreclosed in the same manner as provided by the laws of New Mexico for the foreclosure of real estate mortgages. The board shall shut off or discontinue service for delinquencies in the payment of the rates, tolls or charges or in the payment of taxes levied pursuant to the Water and Sanitation District Act and prescribe and enforce rules and regulations for the connection with and the disconnection from properties of the facilities of the district. For health and sanitary purposes, the board shall have the power to compel the owners of inhabited property within a sanitation district to connect their property with the sewer system of the district, and, upon a failure so to connect within sixty days after written notice by the board, the board may cause the connection to be made and a lien to be filed against the property for the expense incurred in making the connection; provided, however, that no owner shall be compelled to connect his property with such system unless a service line is brought by the district to a point within four hundred feet of his dwelling place;

M. to adopt and amend bylaws not in conflict with the constitution and laws of the state for carrying on the business, objects and affairs of the board and of the district; and

N. to have and exercise all rights and powers necessary or incidental to or implied from the specific powers granted in this section. Such specific powers shall not be considered as a limitation upon any power necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes and intent of that act.

History: 1941 Comp., § 77-3414, enacted by Laws 1943, ch. 80, § 14; 1953 Comp., § 75-18-14; Laws 1967, ch. 187, § 1; 1985, ch. 166, § 1.


Cross references. — For foreclosure of mortgages, see Chapter 39, Article 5 NMSA 1978.

For exercise of power of eminent domain, see 42A-1-1 NMSA 1978.

Appeals from water and sanitation district proceedings to be brought in district court. — Protests or appeals from proceedings conducted by officials of special districts, including water and sanitation districts, must first be brought in district court. Taos Ski Valley, Inc. v. Public Serv. Comm'n, 1984-NMSC-097, 101 N.M. 738, 688 P.2d 775.

Public regulation commission proceedings. — District's intervention in public regulation commission proceedings is lawful act because a district has the authority to condemn a public water utility pursuant to Subsection J of this section. El Dorado Utils., Inc. v. Eldorado Area Water & Sanitation Dist., 2005-NMCA-036, 137 N.M.217, 109 P.3d 305.

No authority to operate public airport. — A water and sanitation district does not have the authority to run a public airfield. Yarger v. Timberon Water & Sanitation Dist., 2002-NMCA-055, 132 N.M. 270, 46 P.3d 1270.

Public service commission (now public regulation commission). — Absent further legislation, water and sanitation districts organized pursuant to Section 73-21-1 NMSA 1978 et seq. are subject to regulation by the public service commission (now public regulation commission) only in the matter of approving rates, tolls and charges by the district. 1971 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 71-56.

Am. Jur. 2d, A.L.R. and C.J.S. references. — 81A C.J.S. States § 136.

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