EARLY VOTING UNDERWAY FOR FIRE TAX CONTINUANCE

EARLY VOTING UNDERWAY FOR FIRE TAX CONTINUANCE

Early voting is now underway at the Doña Ana County Courthouse for those residents who live in the unincorporated areas of the county. At issue is continuance of a .25 percent excise tax, the proceeds from which are dedicated exclusively to fire protection.

In effect since 1983 – and voted on every five years – the fire excise tax provides about $800,000 per year for Doña Ana County’s 16 volunteer fire departments. The departments use the funds to purchase heavy equipment, supplies and life-support apparati.

In the 20 years that the tax has been in effect, each of the departments in the rural areas of the county has benefited by being able to procure new trucks, hoses, breathing gear, and other supplies related to the timely and efficient response to fires in communities outside the county’s four municipalities.

All purchase requests first go to the Fire Officers’ Association for priority ranking and then are sent forward in ranked order to the Fire Tax Board, which makes recommendations to the Purchasing Department about which equipment and supplies should be purchased.

The Purchasing Department then initiates competitive bid processes to procure the items approved by the Fire Tax Board. The bids are then evaluated by a committee and the awards are approved the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners.

After early voting on the fire excise tax closes on May 3, a county-wide election will be held on Tuesday, May 6.
Since its inception in 1983, the fire excise tax has never been voted down. It has always been passed by a solid majority of the voters.

For more information, call the Doña Ana County Bureau of Elections at (505) 647-7428 or the county Fire Marshal’s Office at (505) 647-7921. Residents calling from outside the Las Cruces area may call toll-free at 1-877-827-7200 and request extension 7428 for the Bureau of Elections or extension 7921 for the Fire Marshal’s Office.