BOSQUE FARMS — The Bosque Farms Village Council has taken the next step to possibly move the village’s municipal elections to November, getting in sync with the rest of the municipalities in Valencia County.
At its Feb. 16 meeting, the council voted to publish an ordinance which would move elections from March of even-numbered years to November of odd-numbered years like the majority of nonpartisan boards in the state.
The ordinance will go before the council for consideration and a possible vote at its April 20 meeting. If approved, the village’s next election would be November of this year.
When the state rewrote the election code in 2018, municipalities and other nonpartisan boards were given the choice to either move their elections to November in odd-numbered years — leaving partisan races in November of even-numbered years — or stay on their traditional election cycle.
In the county, the cities of Belen and Rio Communities moved to November elections in 2019, and the village of Los Lunas and town of Peralta waited until 2021.
Until now, the village of Bosque Farms stayed with its traditional election cycle of March in even-numbered years.
If the council approves the new ordinance in April, it will shorten the terms of the seats coming up in the next election cycle — mayor, currently held by Russell Walkup; municipal judge, held by Dolly Wallace, and the council positions held by Ronita Wood and Bryan Burks.
Bosque Farms Village Clerk/Administrator Melissa Velasquez said if the council decides to make the change, candidates would file for office at the Valencia County clerk’s office in Los Lunas in August.
“The council wants to make sure (council) positions remain at-large in the ordinance, as well as the village retaining the library as a voting location,” Velasquez said.
During the March 2022 municipal election, former clerk/administrator Gayle Jones told the council the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office had directed the village to assign position numbers to the two open seats on the council, meaning candidates would have to declare for either Position 1 or 2.
Due to the village’s population, by law it’s not required to be divided into geographically defined council districts and councilors run at-large, meaning they have to live within village boundaries.
While candidates did have to indicate which position they were running for in 2022 when they filed, the final ballots presented to voters read the traditional way — three at-large candidates with direction to pick two.
Having the at-large system continue and the Bosque Farms Public Library continue to serve as a voting convenience center for the county-run municipal elections were the top priorities for the council during its discussion of the issue in December.
Velasquez said anyone interested in public service should file to run for office.
“If they have any questions about what all it entails and the duties, I would be more than happy to talk to them,” she said.
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.