City councilors responded in favor of updating Rio Rancho’s animal ordinance and continuing the city’s general obligation bond cycle during this week’s governing body work session.
Both topics were discussed but did not receive a vote by councilors during Tuesday’s meeting, as is customary for a work session. Councilor Dawnn Robinson was absent from the meeting.
Last year, voters approved a $9 million general obligation bond that increased the municipal debt service mill rate from 1.84 mills to 2.016 mills. This rate change, according to the city, translated to a property tax increase of $5.60 for a market value house of $100,000.
In City Manager Keith Riesberg’s presentation to the governing body, he said the city could receive $10 million in funds for road improvement projects if the city continued the 2016 bond cycle and kept the current municipal debt service mill rate unchanged at 2.016 mills.
In addition to funds for road projects, the city could receive $4 million for public safety vehicles if voters approved a 0.75 mill increase to the municipal debt service. Such a rate change, Riesberg said, would increase property taxes $25 per year for a market value house of $100,000.
With the March 2018 election a year away, Riesberg said the city plans to conduct a citizen survey this year to gauge residents’ support and thoughts regarding city projects and the proposed general obligation bond question.
District 4 City Councilor Marlene Feuer asked city councilors to consider updating the city’s animal ordinance to ban the sale of dogs and cats at pet stores. Feuer said the dog and cat sale ban is an attempt to stop the potential sale of pets from puppy or cat mills in the area.
“There are no businesses in Rio Rancho selling these animals. I would like to solidify this by putting the wording in the ordinance. I have had input from veterinarians, pet store owners and others, all in favor of the modification of this ordinance,” she said.
Other area municipalities, including Albuquerque, have adopted similar dog and cat sale bans. Currently, the city’s four pet stores work in coordination with animal shelters to help rescue pets get adopted.
Also, Feuer recommended adding a mandatory spay and neuter requirement for dogs in the city. The recommended change would match similar requisites for cats adopted and raised in Rio Rancho.