FACTS MATTER: The real deal on the FIRST INSTALLMENT of the Series 2023 GO Bonds
Throughout much of my tenure as City Councilor for District 1, the local press has thankfully played a critical role in our local democracy. Often providing the only regular and reliable source of information on local elections, the activities of city government and the intricacies of local policy making. Work that over time has served to connect the public and its representatives in ways that have both revealed and empowered the diversity of communities that call Las Cruces home. Conversely, on the occasions when local media proves to be inaccurate or misleading and yet is allowed to stand unchecked it poses a threat to these fundamentally important alliances.
Case in point the lack of factual due diligence on display by two of our city’s leading news sources regarding City Council’s February 21 vote to approve the FIRST INSTALLMENT of the Series 2023 GO Bonds. Initially in a provocatively worded headline for a piece by Justin Garcia appearing in the Community Section of the print edition of the Las Cruces-Sun News. (“Affordable housing left off council vote to issue 2022 bonds,” 2/22.) Wording that clearly intimates that the Council voted to OMIT the Affordable Housing Go Bond from issuance. Followed by commentator Walt Rubel’s piece featured in the Local Viewpoints page at KRWG.org (“Neighbors Gather to Fight Crime in Las Cruces,” 3/1). In which Rubel — stops just short of accusing the Council of prioritizing parks over public safety.
In actuality, the decision to delay the issuance of the Affordable Housing Go Bond until midyear was made by the City’s Bonding Counsel. A decision made in recognition of the fact that unlike the other three municipal bonds overwhelmingly approved by voters, the Affordable Housing Go Bond is taxable. Strategically timing the Affordable Housing debt closer to the actual start dates of the housing projects it will support will limit the amount of interest the city pays for money that is sitting idyll. This is the kind of smart fiscal management that recently inspired WalletHub to name Las Cruces “the 7th Best Run City in the U.S.” (Wallethub.com, 2022)
To imply or infer that this Council, or this city, is unresponsive to housing challenges is to willfully turn a blind eye to the nearly 1,000 affordable housing units currently in active development through innovative public/private partnerships. Not to mention the comprehensive network of housing services and policy support resources that are a prominent part of the city’s administrative infrastructure. The majority of which can be easily accessed via our website.
As always, I sincerely invite community members as well as the press to contact me directly with questions and concerns.
Kasandra Gandara, City Council District 1, Mayor Pro Tempore