Welcome to our new web site!

To give our readers a chance to experience all that our new website has to offer, we have made all content freely avaiable, through October 1, 2018.

During this time, print and digital subscribers will not need to log in to view our stories or e-editions.

JPA’s ask for more staff as budget talks ramp up


Animal shelters, 911 centers and drug raids take a fair bit of cash to run.

Agencies presented their 2024 budget requests to the Las Cruces City Council on April 22. The city is a partner in each organization, paying at least half of the cost to keep the services going.

The agreements between Las Cruces and other area entities, known as joint powers agreements, create services such as the animal shelter, the 911 call center and drug seizure efforts.


Clint Thacker, director of the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley, asked for a $720,000 increase to grow the staff size and increase spay and neuter.

Specifically, Thacker said $147,000 would go to spay and neuter efforts, including money for new supplies and new staff. Thacker also asked for $126,000 for four new animal caregivers.

The center’s joint powers agreement consists of an even split between Las Cruces and Doña Ana County. Each entity pays half.


Jennifer Gorham, interim director of the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority or MVRDA, said the 911 center requests a $6.3 million budget, about $2.8 million of which comes from the City of Las Cruces.

MVRDA serves Las Cruces, Doña Ana County, Mesilla, Sunland Park, Hatch and Anthony. Las Cruces is its biggest user and contributor.

Gorham said MVRDA fielded about 351,000 calls in 2023. About 328,000 resulted in first responders, mostly police officers, being dispatched.

Gorham said that part of the increase was due to delayed costs of salary hikes for dispatchers.

Metro Narcotics

Sgt. Gabriel Arenibas presented a $325,543 budget request on behalf of the Las Cruces/Doña Ana County Metro Narcotics Unit.

The Metro Narcotic Unit JPA is a collaboration between Las Cruces police and Doña Ana County deputies. Its goal is to investigate drug crimes and conduct operations such as search warrants and drug seizures.

“We’re officers and deputies in the community that we live in. A lot of these guys are doing undercover operations. Due to that fact, a lot of our investigations and operations are ongoing. A good example is that we’ve had an operation ongoing for three years,” Arenibas said.

According to Arenibas, Metro Narcotics seized 84 pounds of methamphetamine, 78.54 pounds of cannabis, 25.8 pounds of cocaine, 9 pounds of heroin and 86,000 fentanyl pills in 2023.

When asked by the council about the cannabis seizures, Arenibas said most of the seizures were from two big busts in 2023. He said the cannabis – which is legal under New Mexico state law – had been seized alongside other drugs.

Arenibas also said Metro Narcotics seized 73 firearms and about $600,000.

While Arenibas did not ask for a budget increase this year, he said he likely will in the coming years.

“Because things are rising (in cost), because of the increase in pay, I would anticipate that in the next three years or so we’d have to ask for more money,” Arenibas said. “Right now, we’re good.”

2024 budget, joint powers agreements, Las Cruces City Council