The Las Cruces City Council unanimously adopted, with several amendments, an Ordinance that repeals and replaces Chapter 8, Article II, Campaign Code of the Las Cruces Municipal Code, 1978, as amended. The Council’s action was at its Monday, April 19, 2021 meeting.
Repealing and replacing the section will more closely align it with the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Campaign Finance Guidelines. The City’s Campaign Code had not been amended since 2013.
Noteworthy changes to the City Campaign Code include:
- Adding definitions for phrases and words including in-kind contributions, loan, and treasurer, which were not part of the Campaign Code.
- Total contributions to a candidate shall not exceed $2,800 from any individual or political committee, or any other entity. Family members of a candidate are subject to the contribution limits. This was previously $2,300.
- Candidates may not hold raffles as a fundraising method. The New Mexico Gaming Control Board does not include campaigns, campaign committees or political committees as organizations eligible to conduct a raffle under the state’s Bingo and Raffle Act. Violations of the Bingo and Raffle Act could result in criminal charges.
- Special events or fundraisers may be conducted if tickets cost $25 or less and no more than $1,000 in net contributions are received.
- Excessive or prohibited contributions may be returned to the contributor if the candidate voluntarily returns the contribution.
The Council amended two items to City Campaign Code:
- Establishing a $100 limit for an individual anonymous contribution for the length of an election campaign. The previous limit was $25.
- Rewording a sentence to read: Regardless of the outcome of an election, a candidate is required to continue filing campaign finance reports until the campaign account is closed.
The changes of the City Campaign Code were initially presented to City Council at its March 8, 2021 Work Session. The changes were proposed after a review of the City’s Campaign Code, following the 2019 municipal elections when it was determined there was no real accountability regarding the filing of financial reports.
Also, at Monday’s meeting, City Council unanimously adopted a Resolution approving a contract not to exceed $9,173,003, plus New Mexico Gross Receipts Taxes, to Jaynes Corp., of Las Cruces, for general construction services of the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley (ASCMV) New Adoption Center, which will also include the Rinconada and Burn Lake dog parks.
The project is part of the $36.5 million General Obligation (GO) Bond Project approved by Las Cruces voters in 2018. Four proposals were received for the project. The City’s Selection Advisory Committee recommended the award to Jaynes Corp.
The ASCMV New Adoption Center and the Rinconada Dog park will be at 3551 Bataan Memorial West. The Burn Lake Dog Park will be within Burn Lake Park, at 855 Amador Ave.
Updated information about all GO Bond projects is available online at: https://www.las-cruces.org/1892/General-Obligation-Bond-Projects.
Additionally, the Council unanimously adopted two other agenda items:
- A Resolution requesting a one-year extension to update the Public Safety Development Impact Fees while continuing the collection and expenditure of Public Safety Impact Fees under the current fee structure through June 30, 2022 was also unanimously approved by City Council. The one-year extension will enable the City to issue a Request for Proposals to hire a consultant to determine what changes could be recommended. Public meetings to review Public Safety Development Impact Fees and any proposed changes could be conducted through March 2022.
- An Ordinance repealing and replacing Division 17-Building Standards of Chapter 30, Buildings and Building Regulations of the Las Cruces Municipal Code, as amended, and adopting the 2015 Uniform Plumbing Code, as amended, and the 2015 Uniform Mechanical Code, as amended.