Bernalillo County’s South Valley voters reject incorporation
Residents in Bernalillo County’s South Valley voted overwhelming today to reject a proposal to incorporate the semi-rural area.
With votes from all precincts counted, Bernalillo County’s Web site reports the final results were 6,372 votes, or more than 93 percent, against incorporating under the name Valle de Atrisco, and 447 votes, or less than 7 percent, for the proposal.
Voter turnout, which was about 29 percent of the 23,000 eligible voters, surprised County Clerk Maggie Toulouse-Oliver.
“We were projecting a 6 percent turnout, which is what we normally get for school district elections,” Toulouse-Oliver told NMPolitics.net. ”I think people were definitely interested in this election.”
The vote totals, which include early and absentee ballots, will be certified by the clerk on Friday.
Opponents of the measure had argued that government services, currently provided by Bernalillo County, would have been diminished and taxes would have increased.
Supporters, like state Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, and the South Valley Incorporation Advisory Group campaigned on a platform of “preserving the South Valley’s agrarian and historical Character through Self-Governance.”
Voters were apparently swayed by a University of New Mexico Bureau of Business and Economic Research feasibility study that indicated there would be a $3 to $8 million revenue shortfall to meet the new city’s costs.
Despite the study, an area advisory committee had worked on the incorporation plan for years. They contended incorporation was necessary to provide jobs and infrastructure for the area’s growing population while maintaining the semi-rural character of the South Valley.
Last September, New Mexico Independent’s Marjorie Childress reported South Valley residents believe that “both Albuquerque and Bernalillo County are paving over their best agricultural land.”
If the measure had been approved, Valle de Atrisco, with nearly 50,000 residents, would have become one of the state’s largest municipalities.
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