ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Roswell is hitting some roadblocks in trying to bring new housing to town. Back in 2021, Roswell approved the Municipal Infrastructure Reimbursement Program (MIRP). However, the funding has not since been approved.

“If we don’t move forward with this, these folks are going to leave,” said one city councilor at Thursday’s city council meeting, who worries developers will leave town.

Due to a housing shortage and job growth in the area, the city has asked for $750,000 for the program. The money would fund home-building rebates until June 2023 and entice builders and developers to come to town.

“Initially, I wasn’t so sure I wanted it, but we’ve got to try something different. We’ve been right at 48,000 for 20 years now. If the city is going to grow, we’re going to have to do something different,” said Roswell City Councilor, Barry Foster.

Developers would receive up to $10,000 per home in reimbursements for the infrastructure they put into the project. That includes the sewer, sidewalks, and drainage.

The city is looking to develop the northwest part of town and is looking to the City of Hobbs who has a similar program. Some of the city councilors think the idea will positively impact the city and future growth.

Some city councilors are concerned. They worry about potential legality issues and believe the program needs to be restructured to coincide with Roswell’s government structure. They want to make sure there aren’t any violations, saying the program may go against the city’s constitution and anti-donation clause.

“The anti-donation clause requires that the city or any government has to get something in return for it,” said Roswell City Attorney, Hess Yntema. He added that an exception to this would be having some in the new developments fall under affordable housing.

While Foster said the city does get something back through the program. “We’re getting 40 thousand dollars’ worth of infrastructure for 10 thousand dollars. So, it doesn’t go against the anti-donation clause,” mentioned Foster.

One councilor said the city cannot afford the program. But according to Foster, there is enough in the General Fund Reserve as well as in the American Rescue Plan money.

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City councilors spoke about this at length at Thursday’s meeting and said they will take it up again in January. If the MIRP moves forward, developers and builders won’t be getting the money until the city receives a certificate of occupancy for the home.