With Las Cruces municipal elections scheduled for Nov. 2, 2021, the Las Cruces City Council reviewed the municipal election process at its Monday, March 8, 2021 Work Session.
Proposed changes to the City’s elections process that were discussed during the Work Session included reinstating a requirement that City Council candidates submit a nomination petition with at least 25 names of registered City voters, and a petition with names of 100 City voters for mayoral candidates, and implementing an electronic document, that would be filed online, for campaign finances. Proposed changes to the Campaign Code Ordinance are anticipated to be formally presented to City Council at its April 5, 2021 meeting..
The changes were proposed upon discovering after the City’s 2019 municipal election that some administrative issues became apparent involving campaign finance reporting, the desire to enhance community education about the municipal election process and increasing public accessibility to election information.
This year, municipal elections for City Council districts 3, 5, and 6 will be conducted November 2.
City Council also reviewed the City of Las Cruces Animal Control Ordinance at the Work Session. The Animal Care Task Force, consisting of informed members of the community, City staff, and ASCMV staff reviewed Chapter 7, Animals of the Las Cruces Municipal Code (LCMC). Based on their review, the task force has recommended changes to better serve the community.
The proposed changes to LCMC Section 7-11, would repeal the old form of pet licensing and replace it with a modern and more-effective procedure of requiring microchipping. A second set of proposed changes includes revisions to LCMC Sections 7-18 and 7-42 regarding barking dogs. The proposed revisions would clarify the proof needed to prosecute a violation of a barking dog, would ensure witness cooperation in prosecution of a barking violation, and would enumerate an Animal Control Officer's authority to mediate between neighbors.
A third set of proposed changes would amend LCMC Section 7-31 to allow aviary enthusiasts to maintain special breeds of pigeons and drakes with the proper permits. Also, the task force has proposed changes to LCMC Section 7-31 to provide a humane alternative to euthanasia for feral cats.
Additionally, an update was presented to City Council on the development of a draft master plan for the Las Cruces Innovation and Industrial Park. The City’s Economic Development Department pursued an Economic Development Administration grant to complete a feasibility and economic planning study for the City to leverage the park and Las Cruces International Airport to support job creation, public-private partnerships, and private investment.
The need to update the master plan and amend the overlay regulations for the former West Mesa Industrial Park was evident to be able to implement recommendations from the planning study and to modernize and improve the competitiveness of the industrial park.
The next steps include development of a final master plan and regulatory framework. The proposed master plan is expected be brought back to the City Council in June for potential adoption. At that time, a proposed Ordinance could also be approved by the Council which would establish zoning for the Las Cruces Innovation and Industrial Park.
A COVID-19 update was also presented to Council at Monday’s Work Session. According to information provided by the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) COVID-19 Dashboard website, at https://cvvaccine.nmhealth.org/public-dashboard.html, 35,495 Doña Ana County residents, or 20.7 percent of the county’s population, had been partially vaccinated as of Monday, March 8. However, Memorial Medical Center and MountainView Regional Medical Center, in Las Cruces, have reported to the City’s COVID-19 Task Force that the two hospitals have vaccinated 20,000 residents.
The Council was also told the application that could enable the Las Cruces Fire Department to be a provider of the COVID-19 vaccine is still pending with NMDOH.