May 29 KSFR First News: Santa Fe Property Taxes May Be On The Rise (Listen)

May 29, 2014

Homeowners in the City of Santa Fe may soon be paying more in property taxes. That’s because City Councilor Peter Ives on Wednesday introduced a measure that would hike property levies on Santa Fe homes by two-mills, meaning that the owner of a home valued at 300-thousand dollars would pay an additional 200-dollars annually. The New Mexican reports the proposal is scheduled to be considered by the council’s Finance Committee on Monday and by the full council June 11th. Ives says the funding is needed to pay for city projects, some of which are associated with the City’s recent annexation of 41-hundred acres.

Critics of the Albuquerque Police Department have launched a new website aimed at organizing information about upcoming protests and monitoring officer behavior. A coalition of activists recently unveiled the “APD-protest-dot-org” website and is planning a June 21st rally. David Correia, an organizer and an American Studies professor at the University of New Mexico, says advocates wanted to have a central website to disseminate information and have a platform to discuss problems with Albuquerque police. The Albuquerque Police Department has been under increased scrutiny since the U.S. Justice Department released a scathing review of its use of force. The agency also has been involved in 40 police shootings since 2010. The city is negotiating with federal officials over police reform proposals.

New Mexico's largest commercial health insurer is expanding, by absorbing a big piece of the competition.  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico announced today it has obtained State approval to take over Lovelace's various Health Plans and Medicare Advantage contracts. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico has 400-thousand members, and the insurer says it'll pick up nearly 100-thousand more from Lovelace.  The acquisition does not include Lovelace's hospitals, providers, pharmacies or clinics.  Blue Cross/Blue Shield says the takeover should be completed by Sunday.

Funding levels for New Mexico’s K - 12 public school system have still not recovered from budget cuts made during the peak of the recession. That finding in a new report from New Mexico Voices for Children, which says the state’s education operating budget was 10-percent lower in the most recent school year than it was before the recession, when adjusted for inflation. Gerry Bradley is the chief policy analyst for New Mexico Voices: *****052914-Bradley-1 (q: that difference) :16***** Voices executive director Veronica Garcia says recession negatively impacted New Mexico’s “ability to educate its children.”

There may have been some smoke, but no fire behind an investigation commissioned by the Taos School District.  Should the public be allowed to sift through the ashes?  KSFR's Dave Marash has a variety of conflicting answers. *****052914-Taos School District :54*****

Santa Fe Weather: Mostly sunny today, with a high near 78 with a 20-percent chance for isolated showers and thunderstorms. Tonight Mostly cloudy with a 20-percent chance for isolated showers and thunderstorms, tonight's low 54.Tomorrow: Partly sunny and a 30-percent chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms, with a high near 76.