County voters will have a chance to approve funding for Bernalillo County’s Open Space program at the ballot box Nov. 6.
The Bernalillo County Commission approved a measure Tuesday evening that would ask voters to approve a mill levy, or property tax that would generate about $1.3 million a year to fund the program.
If the proposal is approved by voters, it would add about $5 a year to the property tax bill for a homeowner with a house valued at $150,000. Specifically, the proposal would add about $3.50 to the annual tax bill per $100,000 of what a home is worth.
The money would be used to maintain the 12 properties the county already owns, from the Rio Grande bosque to the East Mountains; fund a small staff that maintains the properties and offers free educational and community events throughout the year; and build a balance toward buying more property in future years, if necessary.
The Open Space program has been funded by Bernalillo County’s general fund budget since 2006.
The county owns nearly 1,000 acres of Open Space property at 12 properties in the East Mountains, the North Valley and the South Valley.
Each year, thousands of people enjoy free events such as the Backyard Farming Series, celebrations of New Mexico history and culture, or a simple walk in the bosque or mountains, for example.
Open Space properties include:
· Bachechi (North Valley near Rio Grande)
· Valle Del Bosque (South Valley)
· Sanchez Farm (South Valley)
· Durand (South Valley)
· Pajarito (South Valley)
· Gutierrez-Hubbell House (South Valley)
· Hubbell North (South Valley)
· Carlito Springs (East Mountains)
· Ojito de San Antonio (East Mountains)
· Sedillo Ridge(East Mountains)
· Sabino Canyon (East Mountains)
· Sandia Knolls (East Mountains)
Open Space funds have also been allocated to the University of New Mexico in a partnership to preserve the university’s North Golf Course from development and make improvements.
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For more information about Bernalillo County’s Open Space program, including maps and pictures, visit www.bernco.gov/openspace