Las Vegas voters will head to the polls Tuesday to choose a mayor and Ward 3 City Council member and determine how much council members and the mayor should make.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the city running the election.
According to the city clerk’s office, 405 people had voted early as of late Friday morning. That’s far less than two years ago, but then, four council seats were contested.
Mayor Henry Sanchez is fending off four opponents this year, Councilman Tony Marquez, former state employee Tonita Gurule-Giron, Las Vegas City Schools board member Ramon “Swoops” Montao and state hospital official Gary Ludi.
Sanchez, a retired basketball coach who has served as mayor for six years, won nearly half the vote in 2006 against two opponents, Montao (24 percent) and Matt Martinez (27 percent). This go-around, Sanchez had initially decided not to run again, but he said he changed his mind after many residents urged him to vie for re-election.
Because Marquez is running for mayor, the Ward 3 council race is without an incumbent. Running are Joey Herrera, an employee of a Homeland Security contractor; Andrew Feldman, a Luna Community College professor; Henry A. Sanchez, a businessman; Luis Ortiz, a Highlands University professor; and Max Trujillo, an insurance and real estate agent.
All five Ward 3 candidates last week signed a petition designating a number of people to serve as poll watchers and challengers at polling sites. They were exercising their rights under state law.
The city accepted the petition, saying the candidates met the legal requirements.
The Ward 2 council seat was also up for election, but incumbent Diane Moore is unopposed.
Voters will also vote yes or no on whether the city charter should be amended to have the voters decide on the compensation for the mayor and City Council members.
After that question, voters will pick among three options for council compensation: pay tied to that of the San Miguel County commissioners; $10,000 a year; or mileage or per diem for each meeting.
The amount of pay in two of those choices is not readily apparent. The county commissioners now make $19,854 a year, and per diem stands at $85 per meeting.
Las Vegas resident Steve Gonzales submitted a petition last year with the required number of signatures, asking that the compensation questions appear on the ballot.
Council members now make $19,854 a year, much higher than their counterparts in most New Mexico cities, including Albuquerque.
However, council members last summer voted for a two-step reduction to $10,000 phased in over several years. If voters choose the $10,000 option on the ballot, it would be a step quicker than the council’s plan.
For more information on the election, call the city clerk’s office at 454-1401, ext. 269.