City plans bond questions for roads, public safety

(File photo)

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Rio Rancho voters can expect city bond questions for roads and public safety on the municipal ballot in March.

At their meeting Wednesday night at City Hall, Rio Rancho Governing Body members voted to direct city staff members to prepare for their Nov. 13 meeting a resolution that, if approved, would put the two general obligation bond questions before voters in the March 3 election. Approval of the bonds wouldn’t raise taxes, but denial would decrease taxes.

According to city information, the needs for roadwork and public-safety vehicle and equipment replacement exceed the money the city has available. The bonds would continue a cycle of new bonds replacing those that had been paid off.

General obligation bonds are repaid through property taxes.

If the ballot questions are approved, $10.75 million in road bonds and $3.85 million in public-safety bonds would be issued, according to city information. Factoring in the costs of bond issuance and the 1 percent for the arts allocation mandated by local ordinance, the bonds would make available $10.43 million for road projects and $3.74 million for public-safety vehicles and equipment.

According to city information, if the road bond isn’t approved, property taxes would decrease about $32 for every $100,000 of assessed value starting in 2020. If the public-safety bond isn’t approved, property taxes would go down about $18 for every $100,000 of value.

If both bonds were rejected, according to the information, property taxes would go down about $37 per $100,000 of value starting in 2020.

“We can’t list the roads on the ballot, but we like to get it out there, ‘This is what we’re going to do and this is how we’re going to do it,'” Mayor Gregg Hull said before going over the projects the bonds are planned to fund if they’re approved.

Road bond funds would be earmarked for:

• Mill and inlay on Unser Boulevard from Abrazo Road to the city limits, in three phases;

• Mill and inlay on King Boulevard from Rainbow Boulevard to Wilpett Road;

• Reconstruction of Santa Fe Hills Boulevard from US 550 to Enchanted Hills Boulevard; and

• Reconstruction of Riverside Drive from NM 528 to Honduras Road.

Reconstruction involves striping away all the asphalt and rebuilding the road from the ground up. Mill and inlay is when workers replace 1-2 inches of asphalt, adding to the longevity of the road.

According to the city, Utilities Department money would go to replace water and sewer lines along Riverside Drive at the time of reconstruction. About $50,000 in general fund revenue would be added to bond money to complete the road projects, according to the board’s recommendations.

Proposed uses of the public-safety bond are:

• Replacement of the 24-year-old police mobile command post;

• Replacement of about 17 police patrol vehicles with more than 100,000 miles;

• Police radio system enhancements to address coverage problems, including in the Los Diamantes development near Westside and Unser boulevards;

• Police headquarters renovations, including an exterior building cover to minimize weather impacts inside and for protection of police motorcycles, inside security improvements, gym expansion, remodeling of a deteriorating shower area and tile, and parking lot improvements;

• Replacement of a 2001 fire engine;

• Replacement of a 2007 fire ladder truck with 140,000 miles;

• Roof repairs and replacement of apparatus garage doors at Fire Station 1 on Southern;

• Creation of separate sleeping quarters for female firefighters and improvements in the kitchen of Fire Station 5 in Enchanted Hills; and

• Replacement of three cardiac monitors.

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