After Costly Legal Battle, NM City’s Proposed Budget Includes Large ACLU Payment

For more than six years, the city of Bloomfield, New Mexico tried defending an illegal Ten Commandments monument outside a local municipal building.

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The monument was put up for religious reasons in 2011, then ruled unconstitutional (obviously) by multiple courts. Instead of accepting that result, city officials were goaded by the Christian Right into fighting back. The ACLU warned them not to do it since the law was very clear on this topic… but they didn’t listen. Eventually, they ran out of appeals and owed the ACLU $700,000.

Why is that relevant now? Because city officials just released a new proposed budget and you can’t miss the giant payment to the ACLU.

The preliminary fiscal year 2019 budget calls for about $12.2 million in expenditures. The city estimates nearly $12.5 million in revenue.

The preliminary fiscal year 2019 budget calls for paying $233,000 toward the money it owes from the Ten Commandments lawsuit. The city can either make payments or pay the entire $700,000 in 2021.

So they can pay the lump sum in 2021 or make the first of three payments this year. They’re going with the latter. If you do the quick math, that means 1.9% of the budget will be spent on covering their legal bills. It’s a special Bloomfield-only Tax for not listening to the ACLU. And that’s the generous number.

It’s a lot of money that could’ve gone to a better cause if the city officials weren’t so ignorant of the rules.

(Thanks to Brian for the link)

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