Saturday, December 12, 2009

Anthony Incorporation: Wednesday Public Meeting With County Assessor

County Assessor Gary Perez will make a presentation open to the public on Wednesday evening at 5:30 at the Anthony Elementary School describing what the proposed incorporation of Anthony is likely to cost property owners in increased taxes under various budgetary scenarios. He will make available a map (a copy is to your right)of the proposed incorporation area. A representative from the County Clerk will be there to answer questions about the special election to determine incorporation. Early voting began this past week for citizens willing to go to the courthouse in Las Cruces to vote. Citizens who have not made up their minds about incorporation might want to restrain from voting until they have heard the presentation.

A few years ago Mr. Perez made a similar presentation to interested citizens of Chaparral when incorporation of that area was proposed. Citizens voted down that incorporation.

As of this moment there has been surprisingly little information about the proposed incorporation of Anthony from those who are spearheading the drive for it, Pat Banegas and Victor Montoya, who lead a group called "Moving Anthony Forward." No maps have been released (the one to the right is the first public display of it), no information has been distributed about the proposed municipal budget size or what services are to be expected should incorporation take place, or what the cost to property owners, who will be paying the bills, will be.

Mr. Frank Coppler appeared before the Dona Ana County Commission earlier this fall, representing Moving Anthony Forward. He is currently the city attorney for Sunland Park, and lives in Santa Fe. In his presentation to the county commission on October 29, he indicated the County Assessor's office had projected $54,412,438 of "taxable assessed value in the area proposed to be incorporated," and that this would provide a budget of $200,000 per year, under what he asserted were "very conservative" projections. He did not, however, indicate what he thought the tax increase would be for property owners. It will be interesting to compare his figures with those to be provided by the county assessor.

Out of this $200,000 budget he suggested spending $80,000 for a clerk-treasurer plus operating expenses, $55,000 for a police officer, including expenses, $45,000 for a part-time municipal court, and $10,000 in per diem and mileage for the mayor and city council. If persons representing Anthony Moving Forward attend the meeting they might be able to answer questions from interested citizens.

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