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Special Assessment District (SAD)
For general questions please see our:
Department of Public Works Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

A Special Assessment District (SAD) can begin in two different ways: the Provisional Order Method and the Petition Method. The Provisional Order Method means that the City may initiate a district when it determines that creation of a district is necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of the community. This method does not require any votes or “buy-in” from the property owners. The SAD is created by the Governing Body. The Petition Method means the City may initiate a district if the owners of two-thirds of the benefiting properties petition the City requesting a district to construct improvements and assess the costs of improvements. This method requires the City to send certified mail to every property owner for their signature on the petition. This is very difficult to achieve when a considerable number of property owners do not even live in the United States.

The City is reimbursed for the cost of the SAD improvements by the property owners directly benefiting from the improvements. Assessment payments made by property owners to the City are used to pay for bonds issued for the improvement work and associated issuance costs. The City conducts SADs in accordance with New Mexico State Law, Chapter 3, Article 33 NMSA, 1978 Improvement Districts.

SAD Steps:

The Governing Body must pass 5 resolutions in order for a SAD to start and ultimately for construction work to begin.

  • Resolution 1: Need stated for SAD and City Staff directed to confirm proposed SAD boundaries, prepare preliminary plans, costs estimates, engineer's report, and assessment plats.

  • Resolution 2: A 30-day period for written protests or support and the time and place for a Benefit Hearing is established and set. Notices are required to be sent to property owners. At the Benefit Hearing, conducted by the Governing Body, comments and protests regarding the district and estimated benefit are heard. 

  • Resolution 3: The SAD is created and City Staff are directed to obtain competitive bids from qualified contractors for construction of improvements in the SAD. 

  • Resolution 4: Establishes the time and place of the Assessment Hearing. Property owners included in the SAD receive notice of the meeting. The meeting notice would include information regarding the financing (length of payment period and interest rate). At Assessment Hearing, those included in the proposed SAD are able to express support, concerns, or ask questions related to the assessment costs. If the Assessment Hearing is scheduled in conjunction with a regularly scheduled Governing Body meeting, the adoption of the assessment and bond ordinances would be considered by the Governing Body. The Assessment Ordinance would describe payment of a claim of lien; and provides for a penalty for delinquent payments. The Bond Ordinance would describe the structure of the bond sales. If approved by vote of the Governing Body, the SAD would be confirmed and the assessments that property owners would pay would be established. The notice of assessment for each property and payment would be mailed by the City to property owners. This mailing would include a description of the cash-pay period (payments without interest prior to the start of construction). 

  • Resolution 5: Adoption by the Governing Body confirms and approves the assessments and initiates the 30-day cash-pay period. Following the adoption of assessing and bond ordinances by the Governing Body and the completion of the bond sale, notice to proceed with construction of improvements would be given to the awarded contractor for SAD improvements.

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