The City of Sunland Park is in a good state and is continuing to improve Mayor Javier Perea stated in his State of the City speech Tuesday afternoon at the council chambers.

Perea, who is also running for for the office in the March 1 city election, says the stigma of days gone by at city hall has been recognized as much improved. Sunland Park is considered one of the best fiscally run cities in New Mexico, is among the top ten safest cities in the state and has much to show in the way of improvements of services for residents.

Perea has been serving as mayor after being appointed to the post following scandals that resulted in an elected mayor not being allowed to serve, charges of voter fraud and a nighttime raid by state police on city hall and the financial takeover by the state.

Perea says the city met those challenges and has been given its own responsibility for administering the city. Working with the state, Sunland Park has been praised for getting its financial affairs in order. 

"We operate within our means," Perea said. "In 2014 direct supervision of the city's finances was handed back to us. Since then, we have increased our cash reserves to $700,000, more than 40% of the required 1/12th by the state and has secured the city's ability to pay its liabilities.

"Having good accounting practices is beginning to open the doors for more funding opportunities and helps remove the stain that once smeared on our community," Perea added.

Now representatives of the state's finance department say that Sunland Park is probably the best example of financially running a city compared to just a few years ago when Sunland Park was used as the example of what not to do.

Perea also praised the public works, police and fire departments in the city. Perea noted the increased involvement of police with citizens and the work of the fire department in improving the department's rating, resulting in lower homeowners' insurance rates.

"Our city has seen much growth over the last couple of years and has been identified as one of the fastest-growing cities in the state of New Mexico by Albuquerque Business News," Perea noted. "This growth brings new challenges for our community and many opportunities."

Perea noted that now that finances are in order, the city has been able to address the issue of providing and improving infrastructure in older parts of the city as well. 

"We can definitely show we are on the road to progress.," Perea added. "Sunland Park is in a much better place today."

Perea also announced he is appointing a city ethics committee tasked with researching, developing and presenting to the council an ethics policy applicable to city employees and elected officials. 

"I am optimistic that by focusing on the issues mentioned, this city will improve the quality of life for all residents in Sunland Park," Perea concluded.