Vote for the bond


Voters in the Belen School District will have the opportunity to help support our students and maintain our schools. The general obligation bond will be on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Please consider voting in favor of this bond. It is a continuation of the previous bond and will not increase the current tax rate. This $10 million bond will be used to begin building a new H.T. Jaramillo Elementary School and also to upgrade instructional technology as well as to improve district wide facilities. Our facilities are in need of continuous work, which includes roofing repairs, HVAC replacements, playground improvements etc.

Voters approved the first part of this bond in 2016. The money was used to complete the following projects: build a new Rio Grande Elementary School, upgrade safety technology features, replace flooring and HVAC units throughout the district.

Our indoor swimming pool, Infinity High School and Family School were all built with bond money. Our school district depends upon the support of our community to build and maintain safe facilities for our students. Please vote and if possible vote early. Early voting has begun.

If you are not registered to vote, you can register and also vote on the same day at the Valencia County Courthouse if done by Nov. 2. Other early vote sites include Belen Eagle Park Community Center and Rio Communities City Hall.

Please do not confuse our local schools’ general obligation bond with other bonds on the ballot.

Our school bond maintains the current tax rate and is only a continuation. Again, the school bonds on the ballot do not increase the current tax rate and cannot be used for salaries. Thank you for your continued support of our public schools.

Lisa Chavez

Los Chavez

Vote for the mill levy


Along with the right to vote comes the duty of being an informed voter. There has been a lot of intentional misinformation being directed at the Valencia Soil and Water Conservation District mil levy election. For the facts you can visit the district website at

As the manager of the Whitfield Wildlife Conservation Area, I have dedicated 10 years of my life to developing a place of refuge for both animals and people. I have not done this alone but have worked with many community volunteers.

Whitfield is serving as a model for the development of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge and the Candelaria Farms project in Albuquerque. We have had visitors from all over the United States and from every continent except Antarctica. These visitors spend their money at local restaurants, shops, and gas stations contributing to our local economy. Whitfield is used almost weekly for school programming to get children out in nature; something they rarely do in this age of electronics.

There has been criticism of the VSWCD for spending money on Whitfield, but this is a unique and special place that Valencia County residents can be proud to have in our area. The current vote on the mill levy is not just for Whitfield; however, as there are many other projects the district is working on for the betterment of all.

We need your continued support and funding to continue to serve our local communities. Please vote yes on the mill levy on Nov. 5.

Ted Hodoba, AICP

Whitfield manager

Vote yes for the mill levy


The Valencia Soil and Water Conservation District is pursuing the passage of 1 mill levy.

Unfortunately, there has been a lot of misinformation regarding district’s programs, projects and especially the cost of the mill levy to individual taxpayers. For further information, I suggest you look at their website,

I am writing in support of passage of the mill levy because of the work the district does for our communities. From helping to support local farmers to providing a refuge for wildlife at the Whitfield Wildlife Conservation Area, there are many programs that benefit our area. In particular, the education program at Whitfield provides hands-on science to children in both the Los Lunas and Belen school districts.

There are unique events at Whitfield, such as the recent Night Under the Stars, where many people came and looked through telescopes at the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter to name a few things. Other events happen throughout the year and most are free to the public.

We hear about so many negative things in our county such as the high crime rate and lack of things for youth to do. I am voting yes on the mill levy for something positive in our county, that is, the Valencia Soil and Water Conservation District and its projects.

Raymond Schaelder

Los Lunas

Don’t vote for the mill


This letter goes out to all fellow property owners of Valencia County. I toyed with writing this letter many days and finally decided that it was needed.

This letter is in concern of the proposed mill levy that will initiate a non-sunsetting property tax on all real property owners in Valencia County. Yes, this is businesses and private properties. Non-sunsetting means that there is no end to the tax unless further actions are taken. So, basically it is easy to argue that this is a forever property tax.

FYI: No mill levy has ever been reversed. You can look at your current itemized property tax and see what you are now paying under SWCD. If this mill levy passes, then it will be four times that amount forever. Surprise! There are so many property owners that have no idea about this mill levy or it’s long term effects. Thus the reason for this letter.

The last SWCD mill levy was only a quarter mill. Out of all of Valencia voters, only 284 voted in favor for and 136 against. Ask yourself: Wow can a difference of 148 votes impose a tax on all property owners in Valencia County? Doesn’t seem quite right does it?

Some who vote to tax the property owners are not even property owners. So here we are. Now you know. My vote is no. It’s too much and forever. So, if you do not get out this week and vote no then do not cry tears forever if the mill levy passes. Notice I did not get into the cause of the request for the forever tax.

But here are some questions for you to research or ponder. Is there a specific written budget for the request of $1,400,000 a year of your tax monies? Is the current mill levy spending being monitored properly or is it currently over budget? Is this amount of tax an absolute necessity?

And finally … wait for it … how is that hospital mill levy working for us? Big ideas and little execution.

Get out and vote! Today! Because it’s one of the most valuable rights we have as individuals.

This letter is from a former VCSWCD supervisor, who helped initiate the original quarter mill that will sunset soon. My conscience is clear.

Jim Lane

Meadow Lake

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