By Jo Anne Roake
A Mayor’s Perspective
Corrales should be incredibly proud of the level of service the Village staff provides. With their help, the Village made considerable strides in financial procedures and process, installed new technology upping our communications capability (including an audio system in the Village Chambers and wireless reception outside the library), launched a new Village website and a new library website. A weekly Mayor’s Message provided additional public outreach.
The Village provided equitable pay raises for staff, hired a first-ever Compliance Officer, updated Chapter 18 Land Use Regulations, conserved over 25 acres as perpetual open space and created an ongoing bond program to provide infusions of money every two to four years for municipal improvements without raising property taxes above the 2019 rate.
After 14 years, Meadowlark Lane is repaved and plans are complete for its Phase 2 trail.
After 20 years, the connection is open for pedestrian, bicycle and equine traffic.
Substantial improvements have been made to our municipal buildings, including Municipal Court, Corrales Fire Department, Corrales Police Department and Public Works Department. The Corrales Valley Fire Department Building was completely renovated (what a project), providing a brand new home for Planning and Zoning and Animal Control Services.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation surprisingly repaved and re-striped State Highway 448, Corrales Road.
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, but we got COVID-19 anyway. For all the downsides, the Village can be proud of the government employees who worked tirelessly to ensure safety, give vaccines and distribute COVID monies.
With volunteer help, Corrales gained outdoor pickleball courts, a new floor in the Old Church, a pollinator garden in La Entrada Park, new trees, advice on proposed ordinances, the advisability of a Village Center, removal of noxious plants from the Bosque Preserve and help in locating farmland conservation properties.
The Village strengthened ties with our neighboring elected officials, County and state agencies and organizations and partners like the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District and Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (SSCAFCA). When there is a problem, it is so much better to call someone you know.
Looking ahead, our Village faces recurring issues as we seek to maintain our rural charm, agricultural heritage, low density and sense of community in the face of development pressure.
Our existing Comprehensive Plan (CP) favors low density (one dwelling per one acre; one dwelling per two acres), and retention of our agricultural heritage. I agree. However, a new CP is necessary to confirm these assumptions and also to gather public input about the advisability of other uses, such as senior housing.
Once citizens have spoken, the new CP will provide clear guidance for the Governing Body. Also, the Village has often considered taking over Highway 448 (Corrales Road). Let NMDOT retain ownership of Corrales Road. The costs of maintenance, repair of dozens of culverts and liability are just three reasons why.
Over time, there’s been repeated concern about animal services. The Department takes in about eight animals per month, housing them for 72 hours or less until they are returned to owners or re-homed. In 2019, Animal Services got a new facility, with new kennels and equipment. There’s room for improvement, proportionate with need. I suggest the Village get an objective assessment of the best steps to take moving forward.
Finally, Corrales is dependent on well and septic systems and has repeatedly struggled with infrastructure needs. The time is here to address the quality of our groundwater and acquire a functioning wastewater system. Right now, there’s money to make a good start on changes to ensure a healthy future.
Lastly, may I be so bold as to ask a favor? Mistakes and missteps happen, but they are rarely deliberate. Please give your Corrales government and staff the benefit of the doubt until they prove otherwise. We all love our community and together we will keep Corrales special.
Thank you. It’s been an honor.