Millions in state bonds on New Mexico ballot - Albuquerque Journal

Millions in state bonds on New Mexico ballot

Copyright © 2016 Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico voters are being asked to approve tens of millions of dollars worth of construction projects at higher education institutions across the state, including a new $27 million physics and astronomy building on the University of New Mexico campus.

While higher education is the biggest ticket on the ballot, voters will also decide state bond issues for a variety of other infrastructure improvements – new buildings, senior center improvements, more books for libraries, state information technology and even a crime lab.

The physics and astronomy building at UNM. Money from a state bond question would fund a new building to replace the aging building originally built in the 1950s. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)
The physics and astronomy building at UNM. Money from a state bond question would fund a new building to replace the aging building originally built in the 1950s. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

Bond C, at about $142.3 million is the largest, funding construction projects at universities, colleges and special schools across the state. UNM officials have estimated the higher education projects would require about 1,300 new construction jobs throughout the state if approved.

“Bond C is going to provide millions of dollars to higher education institutions across the state for a variety of improvements and renovations that might not be possible otherwise, all without raising taxes,” said University of New Mexico President Bob Frank.

The voters’ guide published by the League of Women Voters of Central New Mexico says bond approval would result in a property tax increase of $18.68 annually on a home with an assessed value $200,000, but those taxes would replace maturing bonds, so effectively voters would not see an increase in their property taxes as a result of the new bonds passing.

“The bottom-line: There will be no tax increases if these measures pass. Zero,” said Julia Ruetten, a spokeswoman with the Department of Finance and Administration.

Property taxes would go down slightly if the measure is rejected, but state officials with the Department of Finance and Administration did not return calls asking about the amount.

UNM stands to gain the most from Bond C, a $34.5 million share, the majority of which would fund a new physics and astronomy building on campus.

Paul Gessing, president of Rio Grande Foundation, a conservative research institute, argued that voting against the bonds would send a message to higher education institutions to be more financially prudent.

“We’re spending at Cadillac levels on a Hyundai budget,” Gessing said.

And if people vote down the bonds, he added, their taxes follow, too.

In arguing in favor of Bond C, UNM officials say the current physics building, which was built in the 1950s, is in a state of decay and inadequate for the department’s current needs.

To support that argument, UNM created a short video showing the current state of the physics building. In it, one can see staff have covered holes in the ceiling with plastic and tape. Someone created a makeshift cubicle wall using cardboard.

Similar projects also would take place in Las Cruces at New Mexico State University, which would get $27.5 million in projects, and in Socorro at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, $5.5 million in projects.

Community colleges around the state, including Central New Mexico Community College, also would receive $32.3 million in projects.

Zimmerman Library on the University of New Mexico campus would benefit if Bond C passes. (Courtesy of UNM)
Zimmerman Library on the University of New Mexico campus would benefit if Bond C passes. (Courtesy of UNM)

Libraries

If approved, Bond B would allow the state to bond up to $10.1 million meant to improve the state’s libraries, both public and those in K-12 and higher education institutions.

Bond B would also provide the state Public Education Department with $3 million and the New Mexico Higher Education Department with $3.25 million to increase print and electronic resources at school libraries across the state.

The same bond would provide the Cultural Affairs Department with $3 million to support libraries across the state with improvements to their collections. And $750,000 would go to that department for improvements at tribal libraries.

Public safety

Bond D would allow the state to issue up to $18.1 million in bonds to benefit public safety efforts in the state. The Department of Public Safety would get $7 million to design and construct a new state police crime laboratory.

The state Department of Information Technology would get $5 million to stabilize and modernize public safety communications around the state.

Finally, the Department of Military Affairs could get $4 million to plan and build a National Guard readiness center in Doña Anna County.

Another $2 million to that department would go to general improvements to facilities statewide.

Seniors

Bond A would allow the state to authorize up to roughly $15.4 million in bonds to improve senior citizens facilities.

A bond is a debt incurred by the government to finance projects. The state has to pay back that money plus interest.

The state estimates these bonds will not add to the total amount of debt, which includes existing bonds, it pays.

Home » News » Albuquerque News » Millions in state bonds on New Mexico ballot


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Missing girl found; man charged with assaulting officer while ...
ABQnews Seeker
A man allegedly lost his temper ... A man allegedly lost his temper and nearly attacked an officer Monday night as Albuquerque police searched the city for his missing five-year-old. The ...
2
Albuquerque City Council approves commission to focus on domestic ...
ABQnews Seeker
In an effort to improve interventions, ... In an effort to improve interventions, services and public understanding, Albuquerque is launching the Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. The city council ...
3
City council says yes to noise cameras
ABQnews Seeker
and listening — too. The city ... and listening — too. The city council on Monday approved a pilot program aimed at detecting loud vehicles through the use of special cameras. ...
4
Local nonprofit Locker#505 helps 116 Albuquerque students shop for ...
ABQnews Seeker
Nonprofit Locker505 provides clothing for more ... Nonprofit Locker505 provides clothing for more than 12,000 students through community donations
5
Albuquerque City Council votes to strike safe outdoor space ...
ABQnews Seeker
The ongoing debate over safe outdoor ... The ongoing debate over safe outdoor spaces in Albuquerque continued Monday without any sign that either side is changing its mind. The City Council ...
6
Teammates helped NMSU basketball player after fatal shooting on ...
ABQnews Seeker
Gun wasn’t turned over to police ... Gun wasn’t turned over to police for more than 12 hours
7
Some retired New Mexico educators are slowly returning to ...
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico's plan to entice retired ... New Mexico's plan to entice retired educators to come back to the classroom is working ...
8
PNM rate case would raise bills by 75 cents ...
ABQnews Seeker
The minimal impact on bills reflects ... The minimal impact on bills reflects substantial savings f
9
ABQ BioPark Zoo welcomes first-ever penguin hatchling
ABQnews Seeker
Mom and Dad are keeping healthy ... Mom and Dad are keeping healthy baby penguin warm