County Clerk Lynn Ellins confirmed to me this morning that a group hoping to move toward the incorporation of Anthony, New Mexico, has received petitions from the County Clerk's office. The group has until August 31 to circulate petitions and collect at least 200 signatures calling for a vote on whether or not to move toward incorporation. Signatures received by August 31 will be reviewed by Mr. Ellins and, if everything is in order, the County Commission will order an election on the matter on January 5, 2010 to determine whether citizens living in the proposed incorporated area wish to incorporate.
The issue of incorporation of Anthony promises to be a controversial one. Some argue there isn't a sufficient tax base in the proposed area to fund a municipal government adequately. Others argue they don't want to have to pay increased taxes to support a municipal government. On the other hand, some citizens believe incorporation would improve the delivery of services to the public. We will be watching this issue and commenting on it as appropriate.
Mr. Ellins indicated that, if the election is held on January 5, 2010, there will be early voting and a single polling place in Anthony, to avoid confusion for citizens wishing to vote on the issue. Poll workers will be brought in from the outside to eliminate suspicions about the fairness of the process.
The Clerk's Office appears to be working well under the new administration of Lynn Ellins and Chief Deputy Mario Jimenez. Ellins told me Dona Ana County is now the second county, behind Bernalillo, to institute e-filing of documents. This is especially useful for real estate documents, such as deeds, liens, and mortgages, and eliminates the need for persons involved in real estate transactions from having to travel to Las Cruces from around the county, or, for that matter, anywhere else, for filing. Electronic filing in Dona Ana County thus reduces the carbon footprint released by residents of the county as well as the time taken up with such trips.