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Bernalillo County puts $40.6 million in GO bonds on ballot

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Voters in this fall’s general election are not just deciding on a president and other elected representatives. In Bernalillo County, they also will determine investments in a new swimming pool, law enforcement vehicles and improvements at the youth detention center.

Those expenditures are contained within $40.6 million worth of county general obligation bond questions on the 2020 ballot. Voters will say “yes” or “no” to six questions that cover libraries, public safety/fleet/county buildings, parks and recreation, transportation, storm drainage/utilities and housing. Passage would not increase property taxes.

The ballot does not detail individual investments, but the county has released a specific list of projects it has prioritized based on the county’s capital improvement plan.

Parks and recreation projects would get the most money this bond cycle, with a $16.8 million question. The projects run the gamut in size; $300,000, for example, would purchase new mowers and other parks maintenance equipment, while $3.5 million would go toward a new pool in the North Valley, possibly at the Raymond G. Sanchez Community Center.

If the bonds pass, the county would have enough to pay for the pool since it had previously accumulated $1 million in state capital outlay money for the project.

“That’s a great example of leveraging state money with our money to get something fully funded,” said Clay Campbell, chief of staff for the Bernalillo County manager.

The county puts GO bonds on the ballot every two years, and it often takes multiple cycles – and other revenue sources, including state and federal dollars – to bring individual projects to fruition.

Other parks and recreation venues to receive funding this cycle would be the Mesa del Sol recreational complex ($3.3 million) and the Paradise Hills Community Center ($3 million).

The ballot also includes a $13.45 million question on county public safety, fleet and buildings. Passage would mean $3.5 million to improve various county buildings, including the resolution of some Americans with Disabilities Act compliance deficiencies, and $1.6 million for the youth detention center for energy upgrades and improvements meant to “de-institutionalize” the facility.

Elsewhere in this year’s package are:

• $4.3 million for transportation projects, including Bridge Boulevard and Isleta Boulevard improvements and the Sunport Boulevard extension to Broadway;

• $2.25 million in storm drainage and utilities bonds;

• $2.25 million in library bonds, mostly to acquire books, e-books and other materials; and

• $1.5 million in public housing bonds, including $1 million for the city of Albuquerque’s Gateway Center homeless shelter project.

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