Mayors and County Director share legislative priorities
BERNALILLO – Local government leaders in the Rio Rancho region are pushing to hold their own elections and secure state funds for local projects during the next legislative session.
Mayors Gregg Hull of Rio Rancho, Jack Torres of Bernalillo and Jo Anne Roake of Corrales, and Sandoval County Director Wayne Johnson spoke about their legislative priorities on Tuesday morning at the Sandoval Economic Alliance breakfast. It was in person at the county administration building as well as live.
Regarding the brick and mortar projects, Johnson said extending Paseo del Volcan to I-40 is the county’s top priority.
“We see the PoV as one of the keys to economic development and growth on the west bank of the river,” he said.
The county is also prioritizing a more permanent animal shelter, which Johnson hopes will have an emergency vet clinic.
Third, Sandoval County is asking the state for funds to supplement funds it already has for a new public safety complex.
“We’ve been chasing the rabbit, if you will, on the construction costs of this building for two, probably three years,” he said.
County leaders also want to reshape the 13e Judicial district court building to have more courtrooms. To keep up with business growth over the next 15 years, Johnson hopes the sheriff’s office moves from the district courthouse to the proposed public safety complex, renovates the vacant space, and the county trial court. de Sandoval moves to the district court building.
Finally, Johnson and the county commission want to renovate the administration building to transform 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. office desk closeup.
Hull pointed out a long list of requests for project funding.
“The state said it has a ridiculous amount of money, so we’re going to ask for a ridiculous amount of money, right? ” he said.
These “requests” include $ 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 officials 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 authority of the autonomy, including its ability to run its own elections. He said he was concerned that mixing municipal issues with those of other jurisdictions on a ballot could create confusion.
“I get a bit of angst when we want to give a non-partisan election to a partisan elected official who would oversee it,” Hull added. “We have been very successful in our elections over the past 40 years, so we would like to make sure we continue on this path. “
The city’s legislative priorities also include additional mental health resources and money to help public safety workers help people in crisis; ensure that the state continues to pay harmless sums to local governments to make up for lost revenue when the gross revenue tax on food was removed; and allow people who have earned retirement benefits from the Public Employees Retirement Association, especially law enforcement officials, to return to work without losing their benefits.
Torres said members of the governing body and Bernalillo employees also preferred to run their own municipal elections.
“Just changing the date from March to November would not be a good thing for our community,” he said.
Torres said executives at Bernalillo oppose the removal of protective provisions, but support behavioral health resources, especially crisis response teams that would work with multiple agencies and return-to-work arrangements for them. PERA retirees.
“It affects us all,” Torres said of the return-to-work rules.
Torres said the back-to-work provisions should include restrictions to prevent abuse, but he would like to allow law enforcement, fire and water or wastewater employees to return to work afterwards. retirement because it is difficult to fill these positions.
Unlike the county, he and other members of Bernalillo’s governing body oppose PO expansion.
“… The biggest concerns we have really are the impact on our community in terms of additional traffic through 550,” he said.
If 75,000 or more cars are driven on US 550 each day on the way to PdV or other locations, Torres said, the road would not be able to support the load, making businesses in the city difficult to access and thus affecting their income.
Torres and other Bernalillo executives also want the legislature to cap interest rates on payday loans at 36%.
“They suck dollars out of your community,” Torres said of payday lenders.
Regarding the brick and mortar projects, Bernalillo’s representatives are asking for $ 15 million to improve the city’s sewage treatment plant, several million more to improve the water system and $ 5 million more. 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 in terms of many of the issues we face, especially local municipal authority and autonomy,” she said.
The state passed civil rights and cannabis legislation without thinking of a city like Corrales, she said, raising concerns about future legal and financial responsibilities. Like Rio Rancho and Bernalillo, the leaders of Corrales want to keep their own local elections.
As for the projects, Corrales is asking for $ 16.5 million to install a sewage system, protecting more than 1,500 homes, she said. The village does not have a water and sewer system, so most residents use wells and septic tanks.
“We really think there are issues with our groundwater. We really need to go back and look at a decent type of connection for the sewer, ”she said.
A sewage system will not affect wells, Roake said, but will protect the quality of groundwater.
The village chiefs are also asking for money for a fire truck, police equipment, building renovations and $ 10 million for a multigenerational center of economic and cultural events.
“Hopefully we can get some traction on our bigger demands,” Roake said.