By John Larson
The Magdalena Village Board decided Monday, Dec. 13, to table a decision on an ordinance designed to encourage economic development within the village limits.
Village attorney Tom Fitch told the trustees he read the ordinance and said it could be used as a tool to attract the type of businesses the community wanted.
“It appears to be one way of being able to offer businesses incentive to locate in Magdalena. A way of stimulating growth,” Fitch said. “Is that good? That’s the age old argument. It’s a judgment of what you want for this community.”
Trustee Barbara Baca said she was wary of opening the village up to the “wrong kind of growth. We don’t want to see a lot of influences coming in and taking all the power away from the people here.
“You’ll end up with people wanting to leave town,” Baca said.
Fitch said there were two aspects to consider. “First, if you do pass the ordinance you would have the Magdalena Community Development Commission to be an initial screen on each project. They would make recommendations to the board,” he said. “Number two, would you vote off on this support. The ordinance is a tool which allows you to do. So, if you have the tool do you use it?”
Trustee Diane Allen quizzed Fitch on several sections of the ordinance, objecting to the imposition of a village gross receipts tax of .25 percent earmarked for economic development projects. “As I read this we could impose another infrastructure project passed on people in the community as a local tax,” she said.
Fitch said, “The board is the one makes the final decision.”
The second objection Allen had was with a section of the ordinance which said that “policies and objectives of the county’s economic development plan shall receive priority,” including “projects which … meet the mission of New Mexico Tech and Very Large Array.”
Allen questioned why the village should give priority to New Mexico Tech and VLA projects. “As far as I’m concerned, this is not what I want,” she said.
Clerk Rita Broaddus said the ordinance, proposed by Tim Hagaman of the New Mexico Economic Development Department, “appears to be a boilerplate copy that can be used by any county or municipality, after appropriate changes are made.”
Broaddus said it appeared that that section was overlooked when Hagaman copied the version he submitted to the county.
Baca moved to table the issue indefinitely, and the board unanimously agreed.