The city of Las Cruces is making progress on current General Obligation Bond projects, with over 40% of total construction completed.
While the city originally projected progress to already be more than 46% complete, Public Works Director David Sedillo anticipates that the gap will close within the next quarter. According to Sedillo, one project near completion is a replacement facility for Fire Station No. 3, located on N. Valley Drive.
“That project is about 63% complete. The estimated completion date is January, 20 of 2022,” Sedillo said. “Now that the shell has been built, they’re working on stuccoing the building. There’s a lot of the interior utilities, such as HVAC, electrical, fire protection, plumbing. All of those continue to be worked on and are getting close to being completed.”
Sedillo estimates that all current GO Bond projects will be completed by the end of 2022. That includes the new $9.8 million animal services center, which is estimated to be finished in September.
Mayor Ken Miyagishima says he’s proud of the way city employees have kept projects moving during the pandemic.
“I have to admit it was a little bit challenging there and you guys didn't stop, you just kept on working,” Miyagishima said. “And I remember that, and that to me was really significant.”
Already, the city has completed work on one GO Bond Project, the East Hadley Ave. Recreational Complex. Councilor Tessa Abeyta-Stuve says the city must capitalize on the successful completion of GO Bond projects with public information campaigns.
“As we do finish these projects we want to make sure that they're very visible and very public,” Abeyta-Stuve said. “And when we have these successes that things are done early, that we're showcasing that. We need the community to really buy into these projects.”
The city council also discussed plans for future GO Bond projects during the work session.
While the city is still in the process of identifying just what those projects will be, Councilor Johana Bencomo says she’ll be fighting for affordable housing.
“I'm already going to start pushing for affordable housing projects in this next GO Bond cycle just because I think it's key, it’s priority. We know that our neighbors in Albuquerque have done this,” Bencomo said. “I wonder if we can approach this GO Bond cycle in order to meet the biggest challenges facing the city.”
If the current tax rate is maintained, the city will have $23 million for GO Bond projects following the 2022 election cycle. Mayor Miyagishima indicated he does not want to see a tax increase.
“There’s a lot to say when [it’s] vote for this GO Bond, it’s not going to increase your taxes,” Miyagishima said. “That’s a tremendous opportunity to explain to the residents and let them know that we’re not going to increase it and yet we still benefit $23 million.”
Councilor Abeyta-Stuve is also advocating for the tax rate to stay the same, citing the ongoing pandemic as one reason residents should not be burdened with higher taxes.
“Given the last two years, and the climate and the way that people have struggled in this time, I don’t necessarily think it’s a wise plan to increase anything, even though I know we could definitely use it, and there’s so many projects that we want to see,” Abeyta-Stuve said. “Perhaps, after this other cycle, it would be something to think about.”