Your property taxes are on the line.
APS and CNM are holding a joint special election to extract more from your property taxes. Most of us in Rio Rancho, if not all of us, were blind-sighted last week to hear that this election effects Rio Rancho tax payers, and to add insult to injury, Rio Rancho has no early voting locations. It comes with the feeling that Albuquerque dropped the ball and forgot us, again. But look harder and it appears that this was no oversight, but rather was intentional – a betrayal of Rio Rancho by the CNM Board.
A Tale of Two Cities
At the time of this writing, there are only five voting locations, all of which are in ABQ.
• APS City Centre (map)
• APS Lincoln Complex (map)
• CNM Main Campus: BT2 (Basehart Temporary Portable 2) (map)
• CNM Montoya Campus: Building I, Room 111 (map)
• RFK Charter School (map)
These listings are interesting … two APS locations, two CNM locations, and on ABQ Charter school. Since Rio Rancho isn’t voting on the APS bond, we’re going to stick only with the CNM locations. CNM has a total of seven campuses; 6 in ABQ and 1 in Rio Rancho with some additional space at the AMRAP building on HWY 528.
Notice that the two CNM campuses available for early voting are the farthest you could get from Rio Rancho. But to make matters worse, if you’ve ever been a student of CNM, you know that parking at either of these two campuses is horrid; an absolute nightmare, but worst of all is that these two locations are nearly 20 driving miles outside of the city of Rio Rancho.
The CNM bond is set to DOUBLE their portion of property tax it receives from you if it passes. (Well, almost double). On a $200,000 house it will increase from $35.57 to $64.67 annually. That’s no small chunk of change. It’s no wonder they didn’t want to put it next to Rio Rancho’s road bond on March 1.
Voters here a hard sell on tax increases, and based on recent data by two different polls – one conducted on behalf of the City and one conducted by the Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce – Rio Ranchoans may be open to a modest road bond, but not more than a $10/$100,000 home value increase. The CNM bond is not only more than that, it would be in addition to the road bond, if the road bond gets approved.
If you look at the five early polling locations, some very interesting facts begin to surface. Of the five locations, four are in districts that lean heavily Democrat, while the one location that is Republican happens to be at the school with the most impossible parking. Any student of CNM will tell you that’s damn near impossible to find a place to park at Montoya campus and there’s very little in the way of “Guest Parking.” Compare that to CNM -Westside. That has much more parking available, and is far less crowded, but there is one little problem: the practically new facility and lower usage may persuade you that CNM doesn’t need $84 million dollars for new facilities.
It’s customary in election cycles to do a “Get Out the Vote” campaign which includes registering new voters, but CNM didn’t do hardly anything to encourage new voter registration; the deadline of which was January 5th. There was teeny, tiny, tweet made by CNM about registering to vote on time, but nowhere on their website or other social media accounts, and it was on January 5th, not anytime before. Notice, this was a retweet from the Clerk’s office and not from CNM itself.
This should really be no surprise because CNM didn’t even publish information about the bond on January 11, just 6 days after the deadline to register.
And what will Rio Rancho get for this huge tax increase?
According the CNM website, just about nothing:
Rio Rancho, Westside and South Valley Site and Safety Improvements
Installation of safety and way-finding signage and infrastructure at Rio Rancho, Westside and South Valley campuses to enhance and create a safer environment for students and staff.
Yup, CNM wants to double your taxes and just give you some signs to the building they constructed in the middle of nowhere. All the rest of those dollars will LEAVE Rio Rancho and go to ALBUQUERQUE! Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull expressed his dismay in the Observer about this issue.
Why Should CNM care to have locations in Rio Rancho?
1) We have one campus here and a satellite at the AMRAP building.
Rio Rancho accounts for one of the seven CNM districts. Our property tax dollars contribute to the funding that CNM depends on.
2) There is a large voting base in Rio Rancho
This is a large chuck of the voting population and it continues to grow as Rio Rancho expands. To “forget” about this population is to disenfranchise an entire segmant of the population.
3) Rio Rancho voters are well known for their approach to debt.
We generally despise debt, unless you can show us that it will be put to good use. Rio Rancho voters have made it abundantly clear in the past we support higher education, but we don’t like being taken advantage of.
Who represents Rio Rancho on the CNM Board?
Rio Rancho comprises District 3 on the board, and our representative is Debbie Moore. If this name sounds familiar, it’s because Moore is also the Chair of the Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce. But perhaps, she doesn’t have a strong voice on Board. After all, the Sandoval County Commission has two Rio Rancho representatives, but their voices are never enough to drown out the majority who despise Rio Rancho. Well as it turns out, Debbie Moore is not just the District 3 representative – she is the Chair of the CNM Board as well. So she has a very strong voice on that Board.
What is the advantage to having few voting locations? What is the advantage to placing early polling locations in Democratic precincts? Or on Campuses that are difficult to get to or where parking is scarce? Or no where near Rio Rancho? Seems to me like the CNM Board is hoping (fingers crossed) that only students vote in this election, and that they vote in favor of it. People who aren’t likely to be property owners voting for a tax that only effects property owners; not just any tax, an increase of almost double the previous rate.
Rio Rancho Betrayed by CNM in Bond Election
So riddle me this, Batman, how is it that the CNM Board is chaired by the only representative from Rio Rancho, but manages to utterly fail to represent Rio Rancho by putting polling places a minimum of 15 driving miles outside of our city, and then doesn’t bother to inform us about the vote?
Debbie Moore knows that Rio Rancho isn’t likely to support two tax increases. By creating a vote before the March 1st election, she puts the passage of the Road Bond at risk. Putting the CNM bond up on the March 1 election or after, puts the CNM bond at risk. So what does she do … she tries to quietly subvert the voter base by disenfranchising her own constituents!
So here’s a call to action! Go VOTE!
And while you’re at it, give Debbie Moore a call, and let her know that you’re not happy with the way she’s “represented” Rio Rancho.
If you can’t make the journey to ABQ for early voting, you can vote by absentee ballot, or go to one of the two Rio Rancho locations on voting day … the two CNM campuses we have here … on Feb 2. (One day, folks!)
Just a last tid-bit of info … If this bond gets voted down, CNM loses all of it’s funding for at least a year. It might be a good way of letting it be known that Rio Ranchoans will not be taken advantage of.