Rio Rancho is in Sandoval County, New Mexico, and it is the biggest city in the county. It also serves as the economic hub of the county as well. There is also a very small portion of the city that extends into another county, Bernalillo County. The city is also one of the fastest growing cities in the state. As of a population census report result in 2010, Rio Rancho had a population total of around 94,000.
The City’s History
In the early part of the 1960s, 55,000 acres of land right outside of the outskirts of Albuquerque were purchased by the AMREP corporation. The land was originally given the name Rio Rancho Estates. However, the name was changed later to Rio Rancho.
The corporation marketed this area to the eastern and Midwest states. By the time the first homes were being built, many retirees from around the country had already settled in the area. By the mid-1960s, the community had its 100 residents, and by the late 1970s, the population had increased to 5,000.
An additional 35,000 acres was purchased by the corporation. This additional land gave the community 92,000 acres and, geographically, it was larger than Albuquerque.
The community was incorporated in 1981 after the population had reached 10,000. By offering low interest home loans, the community began attracting young families and singles as well as retirees.
The City Government
The government of Rio Rancho has a hierarchy of six council members who represent six different districts. The mayor elected at-large completes the governing body of the city.
Every member of the governing body performs their duties to the city with little financial compensation. The meetings that are held by the governing body are open to the public. In fact, residents of Rio Rancho are encouraged to bring ideas and ways to help develop the community.
The meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays monthly. They usually start at 6 in the evening, and the governing body meets in the first floor of the City Hall.
The City Climate And Geography
The weather averages for the city are as follows:
• Summer 91 degrees for a high and 62 degrees for a low
• Spring 70 degrees for a high and 40 degrees for a low
• Autumn 71 degrees for a high and 43 degrees for a low
• Winter 49 degrees for a high and 23 degrees for a low
Rio Rancho is located in an open mesa climate. The terrain is rich with sagebrush, yucca, Cholla cactus and a range of grasses. The plan area sits on a few hundred feet of mudstones, sandstones, gravel and other sediment.