BERNALILLO — Local government leaders in the Rio Rancho area are pushing to maintain their own elections and get state money for local projects in the next legislative session.
Mayors Gregg Hull of Rio Rancho, Jack Torres of Bernalillo and Jo Anne Roake of Corrales, and Sandoval County Executive Wayne Johnson discussed their legislative priorities Tuesday morning at the Sandoval Economic Alliance Breakfast. It was in person at the county administration building and live.
As for brick-and-mortar projects, Johnson said expanding Paseo del Volcan to I-40 is the county’s top priority.
“We see PdV as one of the keys to economic development and growth on the west side of the river,” he said.
The county is also prioritizing a more permanent animal shelter, which Johnson hopes will have an emergency veterinary clinic.
Third, Sandoval County is requesting public funds to supplement the funds it already has for a new public safety complex.
“We’ve been chasing rabbits, if you will, on the construction costs of this building for two, probably three years,” he said.
County leaders also want to remodel the 13and The Judicial District Court building to have more courtrooms. To accommodate growing business over the next 15 years, Johnson hopes to relocate the sheriff’s office from the district courthouse to the proposed public safety complex, remodel the vacated space, and relocate the district courthouse. Sandoval County in the District Court building.
Finally, Johnson and the county commission want to remodel the administration building to turn the third-floor commission rooms into offices and move the rooms to a new building next to the current administration building for convenience, security, and space. enlarged office.
Hull highlighted a long list of project funding requests.
“The state said it had a silly amount of money, so we’re going to ask for a silly amount of money, right?” he said.
Among those “requests” are $1.8 million for the next phase of Campus Park, $1.3 million for the next phase of Broadmoor Senior Center, and several requests for public safety vehicles. City leaders are also hoping for $350,000 to rehabilitate the Sabana Grande recreation center.
“It’s a heavily used facility, one of our original buildings, and it really needs some attention at this point,” Hull said.
He said the city opposes any legislation that would diminish the autonomy’s authority, including its ability to run its own elections. He said he was concerned that mixing municipal questions with those from other jurisdictions on a ballot could create confusion.
“I feel a bit of angst when we want to hand over nonpartisan elections to a partisan elected official who would oversee that,” Hull added. “We’ve been very successful in our elections over the past 40 years, so we’d like to make sure we continue to do that.”
The city’s legislative priorities also include additional mental health resources and funding to help public safety officers help those in crisis; ensuring that the state continues to make innocuous payments to local governments to compensate for lost revenue when the gross receipts tax on food was removed; and allow people who have earned Public Employees Retirement Association retirement benefits, especially law enforcement officers, to return to work without losing their benefits.
Torres said Bernalillo board members and employees also prefer to run their own municipal elections.
“Just changing the date alone, from March to November, would not be good for our community,” he said.
Torres said Bernalillo executives oppose removing disclaimers, but support behavioral health resources, especially crisis response teams that would work with multiple agencies, and return-to-work provisions. for PERA retirees.
“It affects all of us,” Torres said of the return-to-work rules.
Torres said back-to-work provisions should include restrictions to prevent abuse, but he would like to allow law enforcement, fire and water or sanitation employees to return to work after retirement, as it is difficult to fill these positions.
Different from the county, he and other members of Bernalillo’s governing body oppose the expansion of the PdV.
“…The biggest concerns we have are really about the impact on our community in terms of additional traffic through 550,” he said.
If 75,000 or more cars are driving US550 every day on the way to PdV or other locations, Torres said, the road wouldn’t be able to handle the load, making it hard for businesses in the city to get to and thus harming their income.
Torres and other Bernalillo executives also want lawmakers to cap interest rates on payday loans at 36%.
“They’re sucking dollars from your community,” Torres said of payday lenders.
As for the brick-and-mortar projects, Bernalillo officials are asking for $15 million to upgrade the city’s sewage treatment plant, several million more to improve the water system, and $5 million dollars for a new fire station to expand services.
Roake, who is not running for re-election, spoke last.
“We are in the same boat when it comes to many issues that we face, especially local municipal authority and autonomy,” she said.
The state passed civil rights and cannabis legislation without thinking about a town like Corrales, she said, raising concerns about future legal and financial liabilities. Like Rio Rancho and Bernalillo, Corrales leaders want to retain their own local elections.
On the projects, Corrales is asking for $16.5 million to install a sewage system, protecting more than 1,500 homes, she said. The village has no water and sewage system, so most residents use wells and septic tanks.
“We really believe there are problems with our groundwater. We really need to go back and look at some decent type of sewer connection for waste water,” she said.
A sewage system will not affect wells, Roake said, but will protect groundwater quality.
Village chiefs are also asking for money for a fire truck, police equipment, building renovations and $10 million for a multigenerational center for economic and cultural events.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to get some traction on our bigger demands,” Roake said.