BERNALILLO — After about 20 years, Rio Rancho may welcome another affordable senior living complex, said Sandoval County Financial Advisor Rob Burpo.
Burpo presented to Sandoval County Commissioners about the development Thursday night at the county Administration Building.
The developers of the senior living center are the same developers of the multi-family affordable housing complex, 550 Paseo Apartments, which is slated to begin construction later this year, Burpo said.
DBG Properties LLC plans to build two residential buildings next to the 550 Paseo Apartments near the intersections of US 550 and Paseo del Volcan. Burpo said the last senior affordable housing complex built in Rio Rancho was the Buena Vista Active Adult Community behind Smith’s Food and Drug Store, and is at capacity.
Chairman David Heil, District 4, added the complex has a waiting list. Commissioner Michael Meek, District 3, said the community needs more affordable housing.
“With the price of housing going crazy, people on a fixed income might not even be able to afford to look at homes because they are so high,” Meek said. “It is good to have this to keep the diversity of the population area right here in Rio Rancho, so I think these are all very positive things for the community.”
To move forward with the complex, the developers and Burpo will request a $22 million private activity bond for the project, Burpo said.
“A private activity bond is basically something that the IRS (U.S. Internal Revenue Service) allows local government to lend your tax-exempt status to the project to bring the cost of construction and the cost of financing down to make these projects affordable for eligible residents,” he said.
The development will house people 55 and older with an income below about $30,000 a year, Burpo said.
The county will still receive gross receipts tax revenue from construction, as well as a negotiated fee from the developer at the closing of the bond and annually, he said.
The county will not incur any out-of-pocket expenses. The project will cost about $31 million and be financed with out-of-state funds.
“And all that money is going to be coming into the state, so by you doing this transaction, you’re going to assist them in importing $31 million in the state of New Mexico,” Burpo said.
Amenities will include a pool, biking and walking paths, a community garden and outdoor gathering areas. The land north of the complex is zoned for commercial use, Burpo said.
“I can’t divulge some of the information that we are aware of, but there is going to be a very large commercial tenant going in there that we know of,” he said.
Between now and mid-June, the county will begin negotiation of terms.
The federal government requires a public meeting in cases like this. The public can also reach out to their representatives at any time about the project.
Also at the meeting:
• Sandoval County Fire Chief Eric Masterson was honored for completing a four-year Executive Fire Officer Program.
The program from the National Fire Academy provides an extended education in fire and emergency medical service administration.
• Sandoval County commissioners unanimously approved a continuing education policy for employees. The program has $146,000 in one-time funding, according to county documents.
“An employee’s work performance is vital to the success of the county,” according to documents. “Providing professional development to our employees is an investment in their careers and the future of Sandoval County.”
• Commissioners approved transferring an ambulance to the Village of Cuba.
The next commission meeting May 6 will be live-streamed at sandovalcountynm.gov, under “Quick links” in a tab called “meeting videos.”

Sandoval County Fire and Rescue Chief Eric Masterson was honored for completing a four-year Executive Fire Officer Program. His command staff and family made a surprise appearance at the county commission meeting Thursday to help celebrate. The Masterson family is, from the left, Brianna, Jessica, Eric, Daniel and, in front, Chloe. On the TV is Commissioner Kenneth Eichwald, District 5, and in the background is Chairman David J. Heil, District 4. The program from the National Fire Academy provides an extended education in fire and emergency medical service administration.
District 3 Commissioner Michael Meek, a retired fire chief, said Masterson attended the NFA for 14 days annually for four years. He completed online work and wrote three extensive research papers about 100 pages in length. At the end of his program, Masterson had to defend one of the three papers.
“It is for this very reason we applaud Chief Masterson for the exemplary hard work he has put into receiving this certification,” Meek said. Amy Byres photo.

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Assistant Editor at Rio Rancho Observer