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Voters reject Luna tax increase

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By David Giuliani

In big numbers, northern New Mexico voters on Tuesday rejected a proposed tax increase to pay for capital improvements and new buildings for Luna Community College.

Meanwhile, Board of Trustees member Tony Valdez, an investigator with the district attorney’s office, who represents parts of Las Vegas, defeated his two rivals, Marsha Archuleta and Tommy Ortiz, with 44 percent of the vote. Archuleta came in second with 33 percent, followed by Ortiz with 22 percent.

In Santa Rosa, Frankie Tenorio, an assistant administrator with Guadalupe County Hospital, beat incumbent Kenneth Flores, 56 percent to 44 percent. And in Springer, David Gutierrez, the distribution manager with the Springer electric cooperative, handily defeated Robert Portillos, grabbing nearly two-thirds of the electorate.  

Throughout Luna’s service area, which includes parts of San Miguel, Guadalupe, Mora and Colfax counties, 83 percent of voters said no to the proposed tax increase, which would have increased the annual property tax bill by $52 for a $100,000 house.

The tax hike proposal did best in Santa Rosa — the hometown of Luna President Pete Campos — where 46 percent of voters supported it. Campos, who strongly backed the tax increase, wasn’t returning phone calls Tuesday night.

The tax hike proposal did the worst at some of Las Vegas’ polling sites, getting around 10 percent of the vote at Memorial Middle and Don Cecilio Elementary schools. Only 4 percent of voters supported it at the city’s recreation center.