The city road bond before voters in March would pay for the improvement of about four roads without raising taxes if it passes, but taxes would decrease if it fails.
The road bond is on the March 3 City of Rio Rancho election ballot, which also includes a public-safety bond and election of city councilors.
The item would renew bonds voters approved in 2016 and 2018, and raise $10.8 million for reconstruction or rehabilitation of city roads.
The bonds would be repaid with property taxes. According to city information, approval of the bond would keep property taxes at the current level, while failure of the bond would mean a property tax decrease of $32 per $100,000 of taxable property value.
“We’ve seen the positive effects of getting the bond started in 2016 and 2018,” said Mayor Gregg Hull, adding that the past bonds paid for all or part of nine projects in four years. “… Continuing this process is critical to updating the city infrastructure.”
City officials expect the money will pay for:
• Mill and inlay of Unser Boulevard from the south city limits to Abrazo Road;
• Mill and inlay of King Boulevard from Rainbow Boulevard to Wilpett Road;
• Reconstruction of Santa Fe Hills Boulevard from US 550 to Enchanted Hills Boulevard; and
• Reconstruction of and utility line replacement on Riverside Drive from its southern intersection with NM 528 to Honduras Road.
Mill and inlay work involves replacing the top layer of asphalt and lengthens the life of the road by about 10 years. With reconstruction, workers replace the pavement and base down to the native soil, creating a road with a lifespan of around 20 years.
City Public Works Director BJ Gottlieb said he can’t guarantee a specific mileage or number of roads to be fixed because it’s dependent on costs, which have been increasing. He said the city would do as much roadwork as the bond money would cover, and fix longer stretches of road or do reconstruction instead of mill and inlay where possible.
If the bond pays for as much work as officials hope, the city will repair almost 6 miles of roads.
“There’s probably not a road in town that doesn’t need work on it, minus the nine (Hull) just talked about,” Gottlieb said.
To pick which roads for a bond, he said, city staff members look at major streets and review which have issues with water or wastewater lines. Gottlieb said staff also considered daily traffic counts and whether roads were entrances to subdivisions.
“Health, safety and welfare are always a concern,” he said.
Unser is getting increasingly congested, Santa Fe Hills has a fire station and Riverside Drive has had two sinkholes form and swallow cars.
Water utility funds will pay for the water line replacements on Riverside, while bond money covers the reconstruction, Gottlieb.
He said the city doesn’t include residential streets on bonds because voters typically won’t support bonds for roads in neighborhoods where they don’t travel. City spokeswoman Annemarie Garcia said that because residents pay for those road repairs, the city wants to use the bonds to fix roads that affect as many people as possible, which means the major roads.
Hull said he couldn’t thank the voters enough for paying for the 2016 and ’18 bonds.
“And if they renew it in 2020, we’ll continue to build that trust, showing citizens exactly what they’re getting for their money,” he said.