New Mexico Constitution
Article X - County and Municipal Corporations
§ 10 Urban counties.
A. A county that is less than one thousand five hundred square miles in area and has a population of three hundred thousand or more may become an urban county by the following procedure:
the board of county commissioners shall appoint a charter commission consisting of not less than three persons to draft a proposed urban county charter;
the proposed charter shall provide for the form and organization of the urban county government and shall designate those officers that shall be elected and those officers and employees that shall perform the duties assigned by law to county officers; and
within one year after the appointment of the charter commission, the proposed charter shall be submitted to the qualified voters of the county and, if adopted by a majority of those voting, the county shall become an urban county. If, at the election or any subsequent election, the proposed charter is not adopted, then, after at least one year has elapsed after the election, pursuant to this section another charter commission may be appointed and another proposed charter may be submitted to the qualified voters for approval or disapproval.
An urban county may exercise all legislative powers and perform all governmental functions not expressly denied by general law or charter and may exercise all powers granted to and shall be subject to all limitations placed on municipalities by Article 9, Section 12 of the constitution of New Mexico. This grant of powers shall not include the power to enact private or civil laws except as incident to the exercise of an independent municipal power, nor shall it include the power to provide for a penalty greater than the penalty provided for a misdemeanor. No tax imposed by the governing body of an urban county, except a tax authorized by general law, shall become effective until approved by a majority vote in the urban county.
A charter of an urban county shall only be amended in accordance with the provisions of the charter.
If the charter of an urban county provides for a governing body composed of members elected by districts, a member representing a district shall be a resident and elected by the registered qualified electors of that district.
The purpose of this section is to provide for maximum local self-government. A liberal construction shall be given to the powers of urban counties.
The provisions of this section shall be self-executing. (As added November 7, 2000; as amended November 4, 2014.)