Candidates for Rio Rancho City Council have only two more days to tell voters why they should be elected.
On Tuesday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Rio Rancho’s registered voters will go to the polls to choose three city councilors.
Voters in District 1 will choose between incumbent Mike Williams and challenger Chuck Wilkins; in District 4, they will vote for either incumbent Steven Shaw, challenger Roberta Radosevich or challenger Mark Scott; and voters in District 6 have a choice between incumbent Kathy Colley and challengers Helene Apper, Lonnie Clayton and Marilyn Salzman.
For the city council races, only voters in those districts may vote for a candidate in that district. If a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, he or she wins the election. That means either Williams or Wilkins will win Tuesday night. If no one in a race receives more than 50 percent of the votes, a run-off election will be held 35 to 45 days after the canvass of the regular election is completed. The Governing Body will determine the specific date of when that run-off will be conducted.
For the nine city charter amendment questions, every registered voter in Rio Rancho may cast a ballot. The ballot asks voters the following:
• Should Rio Rancho have a full-time mayor and the mayor would be able to have outside employment as long as other employment does not materially conflict with performance of mayoral duties? In addition, new mayoral duties and responsibilities are established.
• Another amendment adds new duties for the city manager such as “assist the Governing Body in developing long term goals for the city and strategies to achieve these goals,” and “promote partnerships among the Governing Body, staff and citizens in developing public policy and building a sense of community.” In addition, some clarifying language is applied to existing duties.
• Should a photo ID be required for someone to vote in Rio Rancho municipal elections?
• Should the mayor be allowed to second a motion to terminate the city manager? Currently, city councilors must second a motion to remove the city manager.
• The Utilities and Parks and Recreation commissions will be removed from the charter and exist by a previously adopted ordinance.
• To file intent to recall a city councilor or mayor, you must submit a petition with at least 50 signatures of registered voters residing in a particular council district or within the city limits for the office of the mayor. Currently, 10 signatures of registered voters residing in a particular council district or within the city limits for the office of the mayor are necessary to file intent to recall.
• Only the mayor or the city manager may recommend the termination of any department director to the Governing Body. This is a grammatical change to existing language.
• Clarifying language would be added: “No member of the Governing Body, nor any appointive officer or employee of the city, shall be appointed to any city board, commission or advisory body as a voting member.” That makes it clear that this provision does not apply to internal boards or committees that consist solely of appointive officers or employees, which may be created from time to time in order to carry out their assigned duties.
In the most recent regular municipal elections, voter turnout has been low. In 2010, 5,852 people took the time to cast ballots, according to city records. In 2008, 8,450 people voted. Each time, fewer than 10 percent of Rio Rancho’s current population and less than 20 percent of registered voters bothered to cast ballots.