Judge extends injunction against Socorro annexation

POSTED: 12:47 PM MST Feb 22, 2013    UPDATED: 09:21 PM MST Jan 14, 2014 

The city of Socorro's plans to annex San Elizario and other parts of the county will have to wait yet again.

A visiting judge Friday extended an injunction sought by the county that voids any decision made by Socorro on the matter until April 25.

It was what the city had been going for all along to allow the process to continue but keeping it from going into effect until all the questions are

"It was what the city had been going after all along, to allow the process to continue but keeping it from going into effect until all the questions are answered," said Dave Garcia, spokesman for the City of Socorro.

The injunction was sought by county attorney Jo Anne Bernal, who claims several Socorro City Council member violated the Texas Constitution by extending their terms with out a public vote. Records show Socorro council members approved the term extensions as an ordinance, but term extensions require a voter-approved amendment to the city charter.

Whether or not the city of Socorro violated the state constitution will be determined when the injunction expires -- April 25.

If they choose, Socorro council members can take up the controversial annexation plan, but if a judge decides they actually violated state law, then all its decisions could be deemed null and void.

Some residents in San Elizario have expressed opposition the annexation plan, which has been edited to exclude the Clint Landfill and San Elizario's iconic mission and plaza, where the town holds it's annual Billy the Kid Festival and First Thanksgiving celebration.

Several San Elizario residents said the judge's decision buys them time. A group is now moving forward to incorporate the community.

"A lot of people in the community have felt, if it wasn't broken for 400 years why try to fix it now? I think this has become very clear through this process that we do have a threat to the community. That's why the incorporation process now has a very good chance," said Maya Sanchez, a San Elizario resident.