Journal endorsements in the general election continue today with recommendations for statewide bonds. For election coverage, including other endorsements and candidates’ profiles and answers to questions, go to ABQJournal.com and click on Voter Guide.
While most of the attention related to the Nov. 6 general election has been focused on contested races for governor, Congress, state House and other offices, voters will also decide the fate of four statewide bonds totaling more than $166 million. Lawmakers and the governor approved the general obligation bond package earlier this year, earmarking money for senior centers, libraries, school buses and colleges, universities and specialty schools throughout the state.
But those projects will only be funded if the bonds are approved by voters. Beyond providing much-needed infrastructure improvements throughout the state, these bonds would also provide a shot in the arm to the economy by generating construction and related jobs in each of these communities. Best of all, approval of these bonds would not result in a property tax increase. The Journal recommends voters approve all four statewide bond questions on the ballot.
Bond Question A: For
Approval would authorize nearly $10.8 million for facility improvements, construction and equipment for more than 60 senior centers in the state. The biggest projects on that list include the Gadii’ahi Chapter Senior Center in San Juan County, the Abedon Lopez Senior Center in Santa Cruz and the Twin Lakes Senior Center in McKinley County. Senior centers in Albuquerque would also receive funding, including the South Valley multipurpose senior center, $235,000; Rio Bravo senior center, $138,000; and Los Volcanes and North Valley senior centers, which are each in line for $54,000.
Bond Question B: For
Approval would authorize nearly $12.9 million to purchase materials for public libraries, tribal libraries, school libraries and academic libraries throughout the state. Money from this bond would be used to buy books, purchase equipment and upgrade technology, including installation of broadband equipment and infrastructure.
Bond Question C: For
This is a new bond for New Mexico voters. Approval would authorize $6.1 million to purchase and equip school buses statewide, including those owned by school districts and buses provided by service contractors. Part of the money generated would be used to outfit some buses with air conditioning.
Bond Question D: For
This is by far the biggest bond voters will weigh in on. It would authorize $128 million for construction projects at colleges and universities across the state, in addition to money for specialty school campuses.
The University of New Mexico would see $7 million for ROTC facilities and another $20.3 million to continue chemistry building upgrades on its main campus and to construct a new “College Pathways to Careers Center” at its Taos branch. Central New Mexico Community College, the state’s largest college, would receive $7.5 million for its infrastructure needs, which include upgraded HVAC systems, roofing and parking lot lighting. Another $25 million is earmarked for renovations and updates within New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. The School for the Deaf in Santa Fe, meanwhile, would get $1.8 million for an activity center and residential complex, while New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell would get more than $8.2 million for several campus projects. In all, this bond question will provide funding for projects at 26 college, university and specialty school campuses.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.