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The City of Las Cruces does not need a sales tax/GRT tax increase

Commentary:

The City of Las Cruces is right now conducting a campaign to somehow convince hard-pressed city residents that it really needs a sales tax/grt tax increase.  This despite the city having one of the highest-paid officials in the state, City Manager Ikani Taumoepeau, who makes even more than the Governor of New Mexico in what is regarded by some accounts to be the poorest area in the nation, despite the City being top heavy with high-paid senior City management in such a small city in such a poor area, and even more importantly, despite the City consistently running budget surpluses for many years now.  With all the high-paid City management and ongoing surpluses, it’s clear that the City of Las Cruces does not need any more money.

And recent City general obligation (GO) bonds which increased property taxes citywide in 2022 are already paying for a long wish list of needed improvements such as new fire stations, new animal shelters, affordable housing, new trails, park improvements, and etc.  And that’s on top of 2018 GO bonds which also increased property taxes.  And even on top of all that, recent Council actions to use dozens of millions in the City's Telshor Fund to finance more needed affordable housing would lead anyone to conclude what on earth does the City need even more money for as everything we need is already getting done?

Furthermore, residents should rightfully ask what are we getting for all the money that the City already has?  And the answer in many cases is “not much!”  As a glaring example, consider the City’s official “Nature Preserve” on the south side of Lohman directly east of the Big 5 store which has been filled with concrete dumping, trash, and debris since last year.  The author has been asking the City to clean this up since mid-2023 but yet it never gets done.  The author himself has even valiantly tried to clean as much of it up as possible including working on the holiday morning of July 4th to remove all the most visible boxes, debris, and junk on the edges of Lohman but the amount of trash and debris is simply overwhelming and needs a City crew to finally remove it all.

And also consider the waves of City scandals, state investigations, and lawsuits over the last few years relating to the severe mismanagement and abuse of Visit Las Cruces public tax funds and the firing of City whistleblowers who rightfully raised concerns.  Do voters want to reward such a scandal-plagued City Government with even more tax dollars?  I think not.

With one of the highest paid officials in the state, being top heavy with senior management, running surpluses for years now, having 2 GO Bonds and the Telshor Fund already giving the City more money for everything it wants, being a poor steward of the money it already has by severely neglecting public facilities like the Lohman nature preserve, and the waves of scandals and whistleblower lawsuits Las Cruces voters must say “no” to a sales tax/grt tax increase because the City does NOT need it!

Sincerely, Tom Reavey Jr, Mayor's Community Service Citation Recipient.

The opinions of Tom Reavey Jr. are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of KRWG Public Media or NMSU.