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The original item was published from 3/2/2021 11:54:46 AM to 3/17/2021 12:00:00 AM.

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Posted on: March 2, 2021

[ARCHIVED] City Council Recap for March 1

A group photo of the Las Cruces City Council, who will serve from January 2020 through December 2023

The Las Cruces City Council unanimously approved a Resolution establishing a new rates and fee schedule for Las Cruces International Airport at its Monday, March 1, 2021 regularly scheduled meeting.

The new rates and fee schedule will go into effect on July 1, 2021.

The new rates and fee schedule approved Monday by City Council, includes:

  1. The establishment of a gradual, three-year land lease rate from 10-cents to 16-cents a square-foot per year.

  1. The agreement rates for airport-based Specialized Aviation Service Operations (SASO) businesses at the airport will also gradually increase during the same three-year period from 6 cents per square-foot per year the first year to 8 cents by the third year. The SASO agreement rate for mobile, through-the-fence businesses that provide  services but are not permanently located at the airport will be a fixed rate of $100 per month.

  1. The three-year period for the new rates and fee schedule begins with the City’s 2022 fiscal year, on July 1, and continues through the City’s 2024 fiscal year.

Associated with the proposed new rates and fee schedule for the Airport the Council also unanimously repealed an Ordinance and two Resolutions that adopted previous rate schedules.

Also, City Council approved a Resolution supporting reforms in state statutes related to housing discrimination and evictions. The New Mexico Legislature is considering possible reforms during its current 60-day legislative session, which continues until noon March 20.

New Mexico’s existing laws offer protections for tenants that prohibit discrimination and specify requirements related to evictions. New Mexicans also currently receive additional protections, including a stay on evictions for non-payment of rent, that are due to the state of emergency that has been declared because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite these temporary restrictions, the New Mexico Center for Law and Poverty has noted there is a significant concern that many evictions will occur when the protections expire as state residents face issues related to unemployment and may be unable to abide by the requirements of their rental agreements. New Mexico laws currently allow property owners to serve tenants with a notice for eviction three days after a tenant has been notified of a non-payment of rent status.

Proposed amendments to existing state laws would:

  • Allow tenants that are served with non-payment notices or eviction notices more time to fix their status of non-payment, appeal their eviction in court, or find replacement housing if they are evicted.

  • Prohibit discrimination based on legal sources of income.

  • Prohibit landlords or property owners from terminating or refusing to renew rental agreements during a state of emergency.

  • Require courts to maintain a resource list for tenants.

  • Establish a state housing council. 

Such amendments could also help decrease the number of tenants that could be at imminent risk of homelessness in New Mexico if they were evicted. 

New Mexico also has existing laws against discrimination in place for applicants seeking housing. These laws prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, disability, religion, familial  status , and other characteristics. However, no prohibitions exist in state laws to limit discrimination based on legal sources of income.

Prohibiting discrimination based on legal sources of income would ensure that New Mexicans receiving housing vouchers, unemployment assistance, or other income assistance could not be rejected when applying for residency or evicted from their current residence.

Residents with concerns regarding housing discrimination and evictions can contact Natalie Green, Housing and Neighborhood Services Manager with the City of Las Cruces at fairhousing@las-cruces.org or by calling 575/528-3022.

The Council also received an update on COVID-19. Las Cruces’ and Doña County’s status as a Red Level county will be reviewed by the State of New Mexico and any changes in the risk level are not expected to be publicly announced until March 10.

The Council was told there were 5,200 COVID-19 vaccinations administered in Doña Ana County last week at vaccination sites at the Las Cruces Convention Center, Dona Ana Community College, and New Mexico State University . Thus far, 28,000 County residents have been partially vaccinated – which means they have received at least one of two vaccination shots according to the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). The vaccinations account for about 16 percent of all Doña Ana County residents.

Regular updates of New Mexicans who have thus far been vaccinated can be found on the NMDOH Dashboard website at:  https://cvvaccine.nmhealth.org/public-dashboard.html. Registration for the COVID-19 vaccine continues online at: https://cvvaccine.nmhealth.org.

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