Posted at: 12/12/2012 7:03 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Taxpayers may be on the hook to pay for a special election this spring with just one question on the ballot.
A special interest group wants voters to approve a measure that would require candidates for mayor and city council in Albuquerque to win with at least 50 percent of the vote to be declared the winner.
The group wants the new law to take effect before the next mayoral election.
In 2009, Richard Berry beat out Martin Chavez and Richard Romero for mayor with 40 percent of the vote.
"It is not anti-RJ Berry, it is not anti-Martin Chavez or anyone else, it's pro-good government," said Paul Broome, a spokesman for the cause.
"It's in Rio Rancho's City Charter and they don't seem to have a problem with it,” said Broome. “They seem to like it and it should be in our charter as well."
Broome brought pages of petition signatures to City Clerk Amy Bailey.
Bailey and her staff are going through each page, validating signatures. A little more than 12,000 signatures are needed for a special election. If there are enough signatures, the city must hold the election within the next three months at cost of about $750,000.
Bailey said the office does not have funds at this point to run the election. A spokeswoman for the mayor said the city would be forced to cut city services if it is forced to hold a city election.
"The city spends about $33 million a year administering and defending itself on negligence cases. If we can't spend a half a million dollars to better government for our citizens, maybe there is something wrong here," Bailey said.
The City Clerk has ten days to validate the signatures and determine if there are enough for a special election.