Rogelio Zubia resigns from city council, city continues water workshop series

PRESIDIO — Presidio city council mayor pro tempore Rogelio Zubia resigned from his position at this week’s city council meeting. “I want to express the immense pleasure to be able to serve the community of Presidio in the capacity of city of Presidio councilmember,” he wrote in a letter addressed to Mayor John Ferguson.

“I hate to see him go,” said councilmember Nancy Arevalo. “Such a wonderful person to work with.”

Mayor Ferguson also sang his praises, with a nod to his contributions to the community as the principal of Lucy Rede Franco Middle School. “I’ve known him ever since I came to Presidio 34 years ago,” he said. “He’s a good man and we appreciate his service.”

“This is my second term, and it’s always good to give other people a chance,” Zubia told the International. “I had to be absent for a few meetings, and I thought the most honest thing to do is to resign.”

Councilmember Irvin Olivas stepped up to fill Zubia’s role as mayor pro tempore. The mayor pro tempore fills in for the mayor when the mayor is absent from city proceedings. Olivas will serve the city in that capacity until May 2022.

After Monday’s regular meeting, the city continued its series of workshops designed to address public concerns about Presidio’s water and sewer utilities. A major concern is raising water rates in a way that will help balance the city’s budget without hurting older Presidio residents on fixed incomes. “We are well below anything else in the area,” Presidio’s Chief Financial Officer Malynda Richardson said of the city’s water rates.

The last time the city raised its water rates was approximately five years ago, and the city did not have sufficient revenue from property taxes to cover its operational expenses––including maintenance on the city’s utility systems. “We are in crisis management mode,” she said.

The city has taken steps to overhaul its antiquated work order system, with measures to improve communication with customers and to track the status of individual projects. The council will convene for another workshop on December 6, allowing more time for members to conduct outreach and research on Presidio residents’ water needs.

“It’s frustrating and it takes patience—government moves slow,” councilmember Olivas reminded everyone present.

In miscellaneous city business, the city of Presidio accepted a $2000 gift from the Presidio Municipal Development District to purchase new Christmas decorations to light up the city’s downtown. The money will be given to the city on Thursday, so Presidio residents can expect plenty of Christmas cheer in the weeks to come.

Update: A previous version of this story stated that Presidio had raised its water rates one year ago, which is incorrect. Rates have not been raised in five years. Malynda Richardson was identified as the EMS director. While she still holds that title, she was acting in the capacity of Chief Financial Officer for the city, and the story has been updated to reflect that.