The city of Las Cruces, the town of Mesilla, and Dona Ana County each have their own government systems.
City of Las Cruces Las Cruces Government
The Las Cruces City Council meets in regular session three times per month to publicly consider, and enact, actions that help govern life within the municipality.
Meetings held the first and third Monday are for general matters related to the governance of the city. The meeting held the fourth Monday of the month is dedicated to land use and zoning-related issues.
All regular meetings are scheduled for 1:00 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, 700 N. Main St. unless posted otherwise. Once every three months, the council meets at 5:00 p.m.
The city of Las Cruces provides ample opportunity for the public to obtain and review agenda item information prior to City Council meetings.
Official agendas of regular meetings are provided by the city clerk’s office no later that the Thursday prior to the Monday meeting. Hard copies of the agendas are available at the city clerk’s office and information booth inside City Hall, and at Branigan Library, 200 E. Picacho Ave. Agendas are also available electronically on the home page of the city of Las Cruces web site at www.las-cruces.org
In addition to the agenda, which lists the resolution or ordinance number and brief description of the item to be considered, is the agenda packet. The packet contains all relevant background information related to each agenda item.
“The City Council agenda packet is an extremely useful resource, not just for city councilors, but for the public,” says the former City Manager Terrence Moore. “The city clerk’s office provides all information well in advance of regular council meetings in order to give the public ample to review and digest the information. Doing so helps keep council meetings running smoothly and efficiently once they are called to order,” Moore said.
Part of the regular council meeting agenda is the consent agenda. Consent agenda items are approved by a single, unanimous vote by council without discussion. These items are typically considered routine matters that do not warrant extensive council consideration.
According to City Clerk Esther Martinez-Carrillo, “Any member of the public may request that a consent agenda item be removed for discussion by the council, by making the request to the city clerk or any member of council prior to the start of the council meeting.”
“While pulling a consent item from the agenda is a useful tool for a member of the public to better understand an issue, it should not be abused. Too often we see numerous consent items pulled for discussion when prior review of the agenda packet would have sufficed,” said former Manager Moore. “Ongoing misuse of pulling consent items detracts from council discussion and consideration of more substantial agenda items.” Moore said.
In most cases, a member of the public who has a question about a consent agenda item or would like additional information may contact the city manager’s office, which will then connect that person with a staff member who can provide the information without detracting from the council meeting.
“As the city grows, it is imperative that the public understand how the council meeting process works, since resulting actions in many ways govern how we live our lives as residents of Las Cruces. While we strive to make as much information available to the public as we can, we do ask that residents be responsible when seeking that information,” Moore said.
Las Cruces is a home-rule municipality with a Council-Manager form of government as specified by the City Charter. The City has about 1,400 employees and a $390 million annual budget for fiscal year 2011/2012.
The City Manager is the chief administrator of the City, responsible for its day-to-day operations. The City Manager offers leadership, direction and guidance to all departments and sections of the organization.
Additionally, the City Manager implements policies and programs that are prioritized and directed by the City Council and governed under the City of Las Cruces City Charter.
The Las Cruces City Council consists of six City Councillors and one Mayor, who chairs the meetings. The Mayor is elected at-large and each of the City Councillors represents one neighborhood district within the City. Each resident of Las Cruces is thus represented by the Mayor and by one City Councillor. The Mayor and City Council serve staggered four-year terms. You can attend any of the public Council meetings at City Hall any time of the year.