Socorro Mayor Ravi Bhasker is running for a ninth term.
Bhasker has served as Socorro’s mayor for over 30 years and hopes to be re-elected once again in November.
“I’m just a goal-oriented person, and I see stuff that I would like to do, and I think the mayor is the one to do it,” Bhasker said.
Bhasker would like to know from other candidates what they would do with staffing, as he views the team at city hall underlying his administration as key to successfully running the city.
“My big thing is, I have a great group of people that work in the city, starting from Donald Monette, Lena Chavez, Polo Pineda, Ruby Lopez, Lloyd Martinez. That group is basically my foundation of my administration,” he said.
Bhasker’s number one priority if re-elected is finishing the sewer system on Spring Street, near Pinon and going toward the Fire Academy. After that, he would like to complete the Finley complex, which should actually be done in June before this term is up. His third priority is electricity.
Bhasker is still pursuing a municipal electricity option for the city, which could be implemented when the Socorro Electric Coop’s franchise agreement with the city will be up in 2024. But, the current Coop Board has “offered an olive branch,” said Bhasker, asking to meet with the city and discuss how the two entities could come to a new franchise agreement.
Bhasker said his overarching priority is always to keep the city within budget. He also pointed out that the city has not raised property taxes in 10 years.
“I’m all about infrastructure. I mean, we’ve done generational things. We’ve done sewer. We’ve done water. We want to do the streets. We also then want to do the electric utility. Those are the generational things that changes a city from day to day.”
Bhasker said many projects have been completed under his long tenure, like increasing fire department and police department pay, creating a rolling stock of ambulances for emergency services, and improvements to the landfill and airport.
The biggest issue Bhasker sees facing Socorro is drug use, but it is difficult for a city official to address that issue.
“The other big issue is getting Tech back on its feet. We want to make sure that Tech with a new president is flourishing.”
Bhasker said he just met with the interim president about ways the city can entice more students to the university.
Economic development is a “fuzzy term,” Bhasker said, but he has done economic development by opening his own businesses, and as mayor by making the city an inviting place for new businesses. He points to the many new cannabis companies that have moved to town as an example.
“I just basically encourage what a good businessman would want to do in the city is to have good utilities, good roads, have employees, and I don’t give tax breaks to anybody. I don’t believe in that.”
Affordable housing and keeping utilities cheap are ways that Bhasker believes the city can attract businesses.
“Right now, if I did have a manufacturing company come in and said they want 20 employees, our employee base is totally decimated, so the city is working with a developer to try to build houses that are mid-level houses and trying to get people to come to Socorro that want good housing rather than be commuting,” he said.
Bhasker believes the city has invested in quality of life already, and would continue those investments.
“I think if people take the time to use what we have, they wouldn’t have a problem with the quality of life. We’ve got sports for their kids. We’ve got the swimming pool. We subsidize the movie theater, along with Tech. I think we have a pretty safe community.”