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Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 23:20
SUNLAND PARK, NM — The City of Sunland Park has decided to not move forward with a new budget proposed by The New Mexico Finance Department and one city councilman says it's because of the lack of public input.
Things are usually very heated during Sunland Park's council meetings, and Wednesday night’s meeting was no exception. The issue of closing down the city's library has many up in arms.
Council members exchanged words over the $35,000 dollar operating expense to keep their library open.
Community members collected over 200 signatures in an attempt to keep the library's doors open one more year.
"It's important because they are planning to close down the library, so we need to get these signatures to inform the city council that these people care about their library,” said resident Virgil Esquivel.
"There's nothing more important than educating our children, to be able to have that education, especially in the summer months, have the kids be able to come here. They get books all the time and not just the children, but the people of Sunland to be able to come here and use the internet,” said resident Asa-Michael Slayton.
The state's proposed budget took Sunland Park from a $1.9 million dollar deficit to a $500 dollar surplus. They did it by making cuts and creating more revenue.
The council's approved a new property tax, nearly double the current rate to almost 8 percent. The state says this will generate almost $600,000 dollars.
As far as the library goes, some council members say the cut is necessary at this time, until they can find more money.
Still, community members say they have been excluded from the planning process.
"There is no voice. There's no community action. There is no community recognition. There's very little community input,” said business owner Robert Ardovino.
Sunland Park will again discuss the overall budget during their next meeting.