The City of Las Cruces’ Tax Increment Development District, which largely consists of members of the Las Cruces City Council, received updates on finances and current projects at its quarterly TIDD Board meeting, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, in Council Chambers at City Hall, 700 N. Main St.
Immediately following the TIDD Board meeting, City Council convened for a work session.
The TIDD Board was told the special tax district, which includes properties in downtown Las Cruces, had a total fund balance of $10,685,195 at the end of December 2022. Also, annual TIDD revenues for Fiscal Year 2023, as of Monday, were at $2,899,779. TIDD revenues for Fiscal Year 2023 are now projected to exceed $4 million by end of the fiscal year, on June 30, 2023.
City staff also told the TIDD Board significant progress has been made to reconstruct Parking Lot 7, on Water Street, and to replace a public restroom and landscape the area. The parking lot will have addition a lighting and the size of the restrooms will be doubled and will provide better access to downtown patrons.
Resurfacing of the parking lot is currently underway and the restrooms are anticipated to open soon.
There also was discussion among TIDD Board members who want temporary shade to be provided at Plaza de Las Cruces. Consensus has been reached from city staff with the Public Works and Parks & Recreation departments, and Facilities and Sustainability offices that further evaluation is needed regarding the proposed use of shade trees at the Plaza and a temporary shade structure that could be placed there. City staff intends to re-engage with consultants on ideas for a temporary shade structure and additional information will be presented to the TIDD Board at its April meeting.
Monday’s City Council work session included a presentation to the Council regarding proposed designations of Metropolitan Redevelopment Areas (MRA). The City has been working with consultants to designate portions of the City’s infill area as MRAs.
The boundaries of the infill area are Interstate Highway 25, the northern boundary of the University Avenue Corridor Overlay Zone, Valley Drive (New Mexico Highways 188 and 185), Hoagland Road, Alameda Boulevard, Three Crosses Avenue, and north Main Street (U.S. Highway 70).
An infill area, usually within an urban area, look to fill the vacant lots that exist between other developments in that area. Infill areas are characterized by having a high level of demand, due to increased property values in desirable locations with high barriers to entry.
More information about infill is available through the City’s Community Development Department website by clicking here.
An MRA designation would allow for the contribution of public resources to private development projects. A designation also would create a plan that includes extensive community engagement to plan for further economic development and housing improvements.
MRA plans facilitate public-private partnerships to assist in economic development, and improvements to infrastructure and housing. Downtown Las Cruces has already been designated as an MRA, and the designation has helped the community’s efforts to revitalize downtown the past several years.
There was considerable discussion from the Council about what areas it would prioritize as MRAs. No Council consensus was reached, but City staff plans to return March 20 with a Resolution to Council to designate which two areas will initially be designated as MRAs.
Also, during Monday’s work session, Presiding Municipal Court Judge Joy E. Goldbaum updated City Council on court operations from 2016 to 2022. Among some of the information shared with the Council was a reduction in the number of cases filed in Municipal Court.
In 2016, there were 16,075 cases filed in Municipal Court. But there has since been a steady decline. Partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cases in Municipal Court dropped to 11,635 by 2019 and fell to a low of 6,050 when the pandemic peaked in 2020. But by 2022, cases in Municipal Court had slowly begun to increase to 6,486.