Nancy Phillips, Observer

 The meeting was called to order at 5 p.m.  All Council members were present.

 The City’s budget for 2007-2008 was presented by Dick Gephart who said that there would be no property tax increase and the operating budget is balanced.  He predicted that residential growth will slow down and stabilize at three to four percent.  One citizen complained that the city is in debt due to expenditures over budget, and it was explained that the debt is due to capital expenses paid from long term bonds.  The General Fund is balanced.  The proposed number of full-time equivalent city employees (FTEs) is 1,364.  The proposed budget was passed unanimously.  Some discussion about the City’s Capital Improvement Program for parks, utilities, streets, airport, flood control, etc., revealed that many projects are mandated by the federal government but are unfunded.  The City is seeking funding through grants with matching funds to avoid very high noncompliance fees.

 The discussion about the large East Mesa Annexation (Presidio I) and Master Plan and Zoning (Presidio II) began at 6:30 p.m.  Assistant City Manager Robert Garza gave a presentation on the process of annexation that included ten frequently asked questions, e.g., Is there adequate water, open space public facilities, housing diversity, transportation, roads, and drainage.  Also, Vince Banegas, Development Services, MPO, and Councilor Ken Miyagishima spoke.

 Projections of water use show that resources will be available via surface water and reclamation plants (wastewater used for irrigation of parks and public lands as well as residential landscaping).  The 1988 Water Master Plan included this potential annexation as did the 1989 Wastewater Plan, the 1995 New Water Master Plan, the 2002  Aquifer Storage and Recovery Study, and the 2006 Surface Water Treatment Facility Study.  The city has been proactive in water planning, including conservation measures and supply options.  The current consumption is less than it was ten years ago, even with up to three percent growth.

 Mr. Clifton of Logos Development, the applicant, thanked Council and staff for their comprehensive presentations and noted that questions on water and traffic issues will be on the development’s website.  Superintendent Rounds of Las Cruces Publish Schools read a letter to Mr. Phillipou stating that the proposed donation of land for schools will be presented to the Board of Education for approval. 

 A cost benefit analysis showed that the development cost to the City would be $71 million, while the new development would produce $162 million over a 10 to 20 year period.  Recurring expenses would be $60, 515,365 per year and recurring revenue after people move in and pay taxes would be $79,755,805.

 After further discussion, both pro and con about the development, the Council voted 5 to 1 (Miyagishima) to approve both the new annexation and the Master Plan and Rezoning for the existing annex.  The meeting adjourned at approximately 1:00 a.m. on May 22.