Four bonds up for consideration in Nov. 6 election

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FARMINGTON — Voters are being asked to consider four general obligation bonds in the Nov. 6 election. The bonds are paid through property tax.

Property tax rates will not go up if the tax is approved. That is because the new bonds will replace existing bonds that are scheduled to expire.

If the bonds do not pass, property tax rates could decrease.

Bond A: What is it and how will it benefit San Juan County?

General Obligation Bond A would provide $10.77 million to the state’s aging and long-term services department for senior center improvements, construction and acquiring equipment.

More than $1.1 million would be spent in San Juan County, including for a new senior center in the Gadii’ahi Chapter northwest of Shiprock. The existing senior center has drainage problems beneath the building, causing it to shift in several places, and there are visible cracks on the interior walls and ceiling. The new senior center will be located at the junction of Navajo Route 57 and U.S. Highway 64.

The Gadii’ahi senior center would receive $955,000 from the bond. The project is the highest-priced project that would be funded by the bond. In addition, the senior center would receive $45,000 to pay for vehicles.

Other San Juan County senior centers that would receive funds include:

  • Bloomfield Senior Center: $21,100 for equipment to make meals
  • Nageezi Senior Center: $48,000 for vehicles
  • Newcomb Senior Center: $50,000 for vehicles

Bond B: What is it and how will it benefit San Juan County?

Bond B will provide libraries with funding. Most libraries will use the funding to keep their collections up to date, such as acquiring books.

“If this bond were ever to not pass, we would have a lot of difficulty putting books on the shelf,” said Christopher Schipper, the San Juan College Library director.

Voters are being asked to approve a nearly $12.9 million general obligation bond. If approved, $4 million would go to academic libraries like the San Juan College library, $4 million would go to public libraries like Farmington Public Library, $4 million will go to school libraries and $750,000 would go to tribal libraries.

Nearly $570,000 would go to 11 school, tribal, college and public libraries in San Juan County including:

  • Aztec Municipal School District: $36,865.04
  • Bloomfield Municipal School District: $33,404.69
  • Central Consolidated School District: $72,863.29
  • Farmington Municipal School District: $100,876.17
  • Mosaic Academy: $3,746.52
  • New Mexico Virtual Academy: $4,824.83
  • Bloomfield Public Library: $31,747.45
  • Aztec Public Library: $27,331.82
  • Farmington Public Library: $155,361.93
  • San Juan College: $93,851.17
  • Diné College: $8,846.63

Bond C: What is it and how will it benefit San Juan County?

Bond C would provide $6 million to purchase or upgrade school buses statewide. The bond focuses on replacing or upgrading buses without adequate air conditioning.

The bill passed by the Legislature authorizing the bonds does not specify which districts would receive funding from the bond.

Bond D: What is it and how will it benefit San Juan County?

Bond D is a $128 million general obligation bond that would benefit higher education in the state. San Juan County would receive $5.52 million from Bond D, which would benefit both San Juan College and Diné College.            

San Juan College will receive $520,000, which it will use to replace or repair roofs and to demolish the fire training tower located on the main campus. The fire training tower is being replaced by one on Hutton Street that is 90 percent complete. The college is planning on building student housing where the current fire tower is located.

San Juan College physical plant senior director Chris Harrelson said the current tower was built in 1988, and the life expectancy for a fire training tower is 25 years.

The training tower provides opportunities for members of local fire departments to train, as well as the fire science students. The college currently has 36 students enrolled in its fire science program.

Harrelson said if the bond does not pass, the college will have to find another fund to pay for the demolition and clean-up of the fire training tower. That likely would be from the student housing project’s fund. Harrelson said the college then would have to charge more rent for students who want to live in the future development.

Diné College would receive $5 million for phase one of building a new math and science building at its Shiprock campus.

Math and science classes are taught now in portable buildings on the Shiprock north campus near the old Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school building, according to The Daily Times archives. The new building will include laboratories and high-capacity lecture halls.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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