Voters in the city of Belen and in the Belen Consolidated Schools district have a choice in the upcoming election — whether or not to support funding critical needs in the community.
The city of Belen has put $2.5 million general obligation bond on the ballot that would help construct a new police station. The money would be paid by property taxes, but because the city has paid down it’s debt, taxes wouldn’t increase if approved by voters.
The Belen police station is currently housed in a 120-year-old building that has been transformed from a wool warehouse to part of a lumber yard to an office for bank bookkeeping to a fire station. The BPD has never had a new building, and it’s time for it to happen.
Not only does the BPD deserve one, but the current building is in bad shape. The foundation is beginning to falter, causing plumbing problems, which includes seepage of sewage and mold issues.
The Belen Police Department needs adequate space for its staff and for its evidence room. Critical pieces of evidence is now stored in a small room that has a history of leaks when it rains.
Voters in the Belen Consolidated Schools district will also have the opportunity to vote on a 2 mill levy on property taxes. Belen Superintendent Lawrence Sanchez said the mill levy rate won’t increase, meaning voting in favor of it won’t automatically mean an increase in property taxes.
If approved, the school district will use the funds in a variety of ways, including upgrades to parking lots, activity vehicles, lighting, furniture and technology — all to benefit our children, our teachers and school staff.
Funding these two ballot questions is not only important to the Belen Police Department and Belen Consolidated Schools, it’s important for the community. We need to take ownership and have pride in our public facilities, and the only way to do is to make sure they are properly funded.
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