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FARMINGTON — The Aztec City Commission has chosen to continue offering utility credits for participation in the holiday lighting contest this year.

During a meeting on Tuesday, commissioners discussed the lighting contest, ultimately opting not to take any action on the issue and, thus, leaving the contest in place.

Businesses in Aztec have competed in a holiday lighting contest for the past two years, but Commissioner Katee McClure, who first proposed the contest, expressed concerns about how the cost of the contest was impacting city finances.

Last year, the city gave out more than $10,800 in utility credits to businesses as a result of their participation in the holiday lighting contest. While the city's general fund has been struggling from a decline in gross receipts tax revenue, the joint utility fund has remained strong, city officials said.

"I am a huge fan of Christmas and Christmas lights," Commissioner Austin Randall said. "And I love seeing the downtown the last couple of years, walking downtown and seeing the lights. I love that we can give them credit for participating."

Mayor Sally Burbridge said she supports the lighting contest as a way to help local businesses.

"To me, this is one of the few tools that we have to actually support directly the businesses that are in our community," she said. "And in general the businesses that participate are the small, independently owned."

Hannah Grove covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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