The script is written and the stage is set for a bond election this November.
The Village of Corrales’ governing body on Tuesday passed a resolution authorizing the election and finalized language for the three separate questions that will appear on the ballot for the Nov. 7 election.
One would authorize the issuance of $2 million in bonds for farmland and open space preservation. The other two questions ask whether $1 million in general obligation bond funding should be spent to complete and equip the fire station No. 3, and another $1 million for flood mitigation.
Councilors objected to the proposed wording for the farmland and open space preservation question. It contained boilerplate language that included words like, “develop” and “construct” that seemed contrary to the objective of preserving open space and farmland. “The opposite of conservation is development and we still have that language in the question,” said Councilor Zach Burkett.
He argued that the only way to purchase conservation easements is through bond money and that would be the best use of the funding. Jill Sweeney, with the consulting firm Stifel Finance, said the boiler plate language gives the village flexibility with how it can spend the money.
Councilor John Alsobrook said the consensus seemed to be that the council didn’t want the flexibility, but instead wanted to earmark money to purchase properties with conservation easements. He made the motion, seconded by Burkett, to adopt language that asks voters whether they approve of $2 million in bond funding that can be used "to acquire property and easements and other rights-of-way" for farmland and open space purposes.
The language was approved 5-1, with Councilor Stuart Murray voting against changing the language. He favored the flexibility and said it may be harder to convince voters on the residential westside that bond funding for open space would benefit them.
The language for the questions approving funding for the fire station and flood control is nearly identical. Each asks registered voters in Corrales whether the village should secure $1 million to “study, plan, design, develop, construct, reconstruct, rehabilitate, renovate, furnish, landscape and otherwise improve” those projects.
The questions will appear on the same ballot on which registered voters in council districts 2, 5 and 6 will be elected. Language concerning the village council election on the same day was removed from the resolution to avoid confusion.
If approved, village officials say the tax rate will not go up. The $4 million would cover a four-year period and keep the village within its bonding capacity. The governing body was operating on a tight deadline when it approved the resolution containing the precise language that will be used on the ballot. The village needed to submit the paperwork to the Sandoval County Clerk’s office, which in turn must meet a deadline to the Secretary of State.
In addition, the governing body recently changed the date of its municipal election from March of even-numbered years to November of odd-numbered years, accelerating the timeline for the bond questions.
At a meeting last month, the village council settled on which projects to request funding for from voters. Farmland and open space preservation garnered the most support.
In other action at the Aug. 8 meeting, the governing body approved an ordinance adopting a new zone map.
The council also agreed to publish notice of a public hearing concerning official village commissions. The hearing will be held during the village council meeting on Sept. 12.
A good chunk of time was spent on discussing changes to the ordinance detailing meeting procedures.
The council also got an update on the comprehensive plan from Chris Allen, who heads the committee helping to formulate the plan. She said meetings with stakeholders continue, including one she had with the local PTA. So far, the committee has completed 32 of 44 planned meetings.
She also asked councilors to organize focus groups in each of their respective districts.
Allen also reported they are targeting the last week in September to disseminate the long awaited citizen survey.
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