Governing bodies throughout Valencia County are continuously making decisions on a variety of issues, including setting budgets, creating laws and making sure procedures are in place for good government.
Local governments are cities, towns, villages, counties, districts or metropolitan regions. They are responsible for local services, such as water supply, sewage and garbage disposal, roads, sidewalks, street lighting, building codes, parks, playgrounds and libraries.
In Valencia County, there are five municipalities — the city of Belen, the village of Los Lunas, the village of Bosque Farms, the town of Peralta and the city of Rio Communities — and Valencia County.
While the governing bodies of these six entities are busy running cities, they are also meeting with constituents and other lawmakers and attending various community and business events, council meetings and other local and regional forums.
A proclamation is a formal public statement. A proclamation is usually issued honoring an organization, a person or a group, for an achievement or simply as an honor.
Proclamations are typically issued by a mayor to recognize the importance of a community event, significant achievements by community members or to signal a city’s role in significant events.
It is also an act that formally declares to the general public that the government has acted in a particular way.
Proclamations are not law. They are a way for government officials to officially recognize a person, a group or an issue.
For example, Bosque Farms Mayor Wayne Ake issued a proclamation in January recognizing a 7-year-old boy for his accomplishments as a dirt bike racer.
More recently, the Belen City Council declared, by proclamation, Manufacturing Day in Belen, recognizing local manufacturing businesses.
A resolution is the official expression of the opinion or will of a governing body. Governing bodies typically approve resolutions for internal, administrative purposes.
According to the New Mexico Municipal League, … “the best way to view a resolution is as a formal declaration of the governing body concerning a certain subject which does not have the force of law (at least on the public in general).”
“A public body is required to comply with its own rules, any resolution which the governing body may use to establish rules for itself should be considered to have the force of law on the governing body.
“If the governing body does not wish to follow the resolution any longer, it should be rescinded. A resolution remains in effect until rescinded or replaced by a subsequent resolution on the same subject.”
Municipalities use resolutions for different actions, including giving notice of an election, determining the rules of procedure to be followed by a governing body or appointing a city committee.
Another common use of a resolution is for governing bodies to express an opinion on a certain issue.
A resolution, which are numbered and kept for the record, can be introduced and adopted by the governing body at the same meeting, unlike an ordinance that requires two weeks notice before final consideration.
While resolutions are not necessarily laws, they are council- or commission-approved policies or actions.
Most recently, all of the municipalities approved their Infrastructure Capital Improvement resolutions, which are plans submitted to the state for possible funding for future projects.
In March, the Valencia County Commission approved a resolution declaring a disaster due to the Ironworks Fire, which allowed the county to apply for funds to reimburse it for expenditures it made during the fire.
Another example of a resolution is when the Los Lunas Village Council considered allowing a local brewery to serve and sell alcoholic beverages during a village-sponsored event.
An ordinance ranks highest in authority of all actions a governing body can take. An ordinance has the force of law within the municipality or county and can be enforced in municipal or magistrate court if it contains a penalty clause.
Special procedures must be followed for certain ordinances. Ordinances must be considered at an open, public meeting, and a notice of the title and subject matter of a proposed ordinance must be published at least two weeks prior to the meeting at which it is to be considered.
Enactment of an ordinance
Prior to considering an ordinance, a governing body must allow the public to speak about the issue during a public hearing, which could occur weeks ahead of the vote or at the same meeting.
Enacting a municipal ordinance requires a motion and second to adopt, and an affirmative vote of a majority of all members of the governing body. The clerk must record in the minutes the vote of each governing body member, so a roll call vote is ordinarily used. All ordinances enacted are permanent records of the municipality.
After enactment, an ordinance must be published once, either in its entirety or by title and a general summary of subject matter. The ordinance does not become law until five days after publication, unless otherwise provided by law.
Since an ordinance is a law, it can be amended or repealed only by another ordinance, adopted with the same formalities as the ordinance being amended or repealed. The parts of an ordinance amending or repealing another ordinance will be generally the same as those of any other ordinance, with certain differences in language style.
While there are different types of ordinances, some include traffic laws, planning and zoning laws and nuisance laws. For example, ordinances can range from forbidding unleashed dogs while not on private property to forbidding open containers of alcohol in city parks.
One recent ordinance approved by the Belen City Council in June was the designation of the old Belen City Hall as a historic landmark.
More recently, the town of Peralta and the city of Rio Communities approved a solid waste ordinance, which allows for an exclusive contract with a single hauler.
The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.