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Open Meetings Act Compliance for Acequias

Grandfather’s Ledger -Photo taken by Sarah Rivera-Cordova from Socorro, NM

As political subdivisions, acequias are required to follow the Open Meetings Act, which is intended to allow the public access to decision-making by elected officials. The Open Meetings Act requires that meetings of the acequia be open to the public and that such meetings can only be held after reasonable notice.

Each acequia should consider adopting an Open Meetings Act resolution that specifies the time and method for providing notice. NMAA has provided a template at:

https://www.lasacequias.org/news/open-meetings-act-resolution/

The template resolution includes:

  • The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has determined that minimum reasonable notice is public posting at least 10 days prior for regular meetings, at least 3 days prior for special meetings, and at least 24 hours (1 day) prior for emergency meetings (additional notice optional such as email, snail mail or as specified in your bylaws).

 

  • The agenda should be posted or available (the notice should specify how to obtain a copy of the agenda) within 72 hours of the scheduled meeting time.

 

  • It is especially important that any action items be identified on the agenda prior to the meeting.

 

  • The acequia must keep written minutes of all meetings, which include at a minimum the date, time, and place of the meeting, the names of commissioners in attendance and those absent, the substance of the proposals considered, and a record of any decisions and votes taken that show how each commissioner voted. Draft minutes must be prepared within 10 working days after the meeting and approved, amended or disapproved at the next meeting where a quorum is present. They are official only after they are approved.  All minutes are open to public inspection.

 

  • For more information about compliance with the OMA, contact the NMAA at 505-995-9644.

NMAA is available to attend acequia meetings by invitation. Please let us know if you would like NMAA staff to attend or to give a presentation on a range of topics related to water rights or acequia governance.  It is best if we could have a two week notice of your meeting.

 

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