By Jeanette DeDios / NM News Port
Tuesday, November 2, is election day in Albuquerque. The ballot includes a race for mayor and city council districts 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. But aside from the candidates, voters will make important decisions on almost $500 million in bond measures.
Here are the 14 bond questions proposed by the city of Albuquerque and Albuquerque Public Schools on the ballot.
- Albuquerque Public Schools, Public School Building Tax Act: $302 million
- The Albuquerque Municipal School District will use the funds to replace science, physical education, library, career vocational, music & fine arts equipment. The money will also be used for roofing, electrical, equipment, safety maintenance and repairs.
- A yes vote means the district will levy a property tax for six years of $2.00 per $1,000 of taxable value for residential property and $4.34 per $1,000 of taxable value for non-residential property.
- General Obligation Bond Question: $200 million
- The Albuquerque Municipal School will use these funds to remodel, equip and furnish school buildings; purchase or improve school grounds; purchase computer software and hardware for student use in public schools.
- Gross Receipts Tax Revenue Bonds for Multi-Use Public Stadium: $50 million
- City of Albuquerque seeks voter consent to fund the acquisition of property for and construction of a public stadium for multiple uses, including professional soccer events.
- Senior, Family, Community Center, Homeless, and Community Enhancement Bonds: $28.4 million
- City of Albuquerque would apply these dollars to fund the improvement of neighborhood community centers and facilities.
- Parks and Recreation Bonds: $27.2 million
- City of Albuquerque would spend this on the improvement of parks and recreation such as playground, pool and irrigation renovations.
- Public Safety Bonds: $24.7 million
- City of Albuquerque would channel these funds into the improvement of police, fire, and public safety facilities.
- Street Bonds: $21.8 million
- City of Albuquerque is targeting this bond to fund improvements to roads.
- Energy and Water Conservation, Public Facilities, and System Modernization Bonds: $15.9 million
- City of Albuquerque needs public dollars to fund the modernization and efficiency of public buildings and facilities.
- Storm Sewer System Bonds: $4.6 million
- City of Albuquerque would fund improvements to the city’s storm sewer system.
- Metropolitan Redevelopment Bonds: $4.5 million
- City of Albuquerque to aim these dollars at such redevelopment projects as the rail yards and other targeted redevelopment areas.
- Library Bonds: $4.1 million
- City of Albuquerque seeks to fund improvements to libraries such as library materials, repairs and renovations.
- Museum and Cultural Facilities Bonds: $3.9 million
- City of Albuquerque hopes to upgrade its cultural facilities such as the Balloon Museum, KiMo Theatre, Albuquerque Museum and Explora, all of which need repairs and renovations.
- Affordable Housing Bonds: $3.3 million
- City of Albuquerque would fund the construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households.
- Public Transportation Bonds: $1.1 million
- City of Albuquerque requests these funds to plan, design and develop property, vehicles and equipment for public transportation facilities such as bus stops/stations.
“Bonds are an important way of financing needed infrastructure that cannot be paid for upfront,” said Dede Feldman, Common Cause Communications Director and former NM Senator.
“Without bonds we would have a lower quality of life with fewer libraries, terrible roads, few parks, community centers. Our hospitals and schools would run out of old, outdated buildings with equipment that doesn’t work.”
Each year, local and state governments in New Mexico use bonds to help pay for projects that require a large amount of funds that they wouldn’t be able to pay for in their annual budget. New Mexico borrows the money and makes an agreement to pay back the money using property taxes or other means.
“To pay for the creation of a large project, they borrow money from investors who buy bonds, loaning cities the money, thus investing in the project— with a promise of return on their investment (interest),” Feldman said. “These municipal bonds are often more attractive than stocks in that they are tax free for the investor.”
These bonds are called general obligation bonds or “GO bonds,” financed by the local government. To read in more detail about the upcoming bonds, the 2021 General Obligation Bond Program by Purpose documents as prepared by Mayor Timothy M. Keller and his staff, adopted by the Albuquerque City Council, offer an extensive view of the bonds on the ballot.
Early voting is being held until October 30 with most voting locations operating from 10am – 7pm. For more information on where the closest voting polls are and hours of operation, check out the County Clerk’s website.
All New Mexico polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time on Election Day. An individual who is in line at the time polls close must be allowed to vote.
For further research on candidates and bonds, the League of Women Voters of Central New Mexico (LWV) have both a website and printed voter guide that can help you stay informed on important dates, candidate profiles and a breakdown of each bond and where its funds will be allocated if passed.
Jeanette DeDios is a reporter for NM News Port and can be reached on Twitter @jeanettededios.