Election in RC set for May 14

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Setting a new land speed record for government meetings, the county commissioners made short work of approving the election resolution for the first ever municipal election in the city of Rio Communities.

Because the new city will not have a governing body until after the election, the duty of calling for and holding the election falls on the county.

Newly-elected Valencia County Clerk Peggy Carabajal told the five commissioners that the resolution called for the election to be held on Tuesday, May 14.

Interested candidates will file for candidacy between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., on Tuesday, March 19, at the county clerk's office.

"Usually that would be done at the city's offices, but since this is the first time and they have nothing, everything will be done through the county clerk," Carabajal said.

She added that after speaking with county attorney Adren Nance, the election would be for the mayor, four councilors and municipal judge of the "city" of Rio Communities.

"'City' is what was on the ballot question and is what the voters voted on," Carabajal said.

Incorporation proponents and organizers have referred to the new municipality as a "township," but when the paperwork was filed, the designation of "city" is what made it onto the ballot.

Commissioner Alicia Aguilar asked if the designation — city versus town versus village — made any difference if the form of the governing body.

County attorney Dave Pato said it was up to those who drove the incorporation to decide on the municipality's designation, and it was his understanding the composition of the governing body would remain the same regardless.

Mark Gwinn, the Rio Communities resident who spearheaded the incorporation effort, said he had talked to both the state municipal league and the secretary of state's office, and was told that nothing in statute differentiates between a city, town or village, as far as local government is concerned.

"We will still fall under small municipality designation, and have a mayor, four councilors and judge," Gwinn said.

"Our funding is based on our population, not whether we are a city or a town.

"'City' is what was approved, so we are a city at this time, unless our governing body challenges that and asks it to be changed."

Commissioner Lawrence Romero made a motion to approve the resolution and Commissioner Mary Andersen seconded. It passed 5-0.

And so it was all over and done with in 11 minutes.


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.