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Proposal invests in Santa Fe

October 8, 2018

Senior centers, recreation centers, trails, libraries and fire stations. More than simple physical spaces, these buildings and facilities are places that help bring communities together and connect people with one another. They are also the core of the services that the city provides — keeping the public safe, informed, healthy and part of a larger community.

Right now, your City Council is hard at work refining and moving forward a proposal to invest $20 million of gross receipts tax revenue bonds back into the community. This bond will not require a tax increase. It will put money into Santa Fe in ways and in places where it will make a real difference in the city’s user-friendliness, family-friendliness and sustainability — and that’s a step worth celebrating.

There are dozens of projects on the list (read more about the details at www.santafenm.gov/investing_in_santa_fe). A few highlights include a new fire station that would cut response times on the south side; upgrades to popular public recreation facilities like the Genoveva Chavez Community Center, Fort Marcy Recreation Complex and Salvador Perez Park; a 1,500-square-foot expansion at Mary Esther Gonzales Senior Center so more seniors can come together for meals and activities; and constituent service systems that will help us serve you better — making sure your requests are heard, tracked and resolved.

This a first step in addressing the city’s need to invest in the core services we provide. The Great Recession hit hard in Santa Fe, just like everywhere else, and led city leaders to focus more on balancing the budget than building up our infrastructure. Now we’ve got a lot of work to do to catch up. We need to upgrade libraries, recreation centers, public safety operations and internal city processes to keep the city running smoothly.

For the last four years, we’ve worked hard to put the city on solid financial ground, keep a sharp eye on city finances and become better stewards of public money, giving us the capacity — and the financial health — we need to offer a new infrastructure bond. By committing future gross receipts tax revenue to pay back the bond, we’ll more fairly spread the burden between Santa Feans who use these facilities now and in the future. With bond interest rates currently low, and the city’s bond rating currently high, now is the time to act.

This bond doesn’t solve every infrastructure problem we are facing as a community. But paired with the $11.5 million gas tax bond that repaved streets in every corner of the city starting last year, it is this administration’s first effort to get back to basics, invest in the places and things that bring our community together, and earn your trust in our ability to handle big, challenging and important projects.

Councilor Peter Ives represents District 2 and is the chairman of the Public Works Committee. Councilor Roman “Tiger” Abeyta represents District 3 and is chairman of the Finance Committee.

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