The village of Tijeras is slowing way down on its proposal to annex surrounding area. Mayor Jake Bruton said the move is in response to public input on the plan, which at its full implementation would vastly increase both the size and population of the village.

“Basically I’m trying to listen to the community, and trying to work with the community,” Bruton said, adding that “a lot of people” expressed concerns that there was not enough information known to make the move.

A press release from the village said the annexation plans are being postponed. “We are extremely grateful to Village residents and members of the surrounding community for engaging with us and providing feedback on the proposed annexation,” it says. “We want to assure you we are committed to preserving the natural beauty and rural character of the Village of Tijeras and broader East Mountains community. We remain committed to a citizen-driven process and any future proposal for annexation will take into account the feedback we have received.”

Bruton said the village was trying to work “at a breakneck pace,” saying, “I don’t see any reason why government has to go at such a slow pace, keep it moving forward. We just got such an outpour from the community, for more information, more clarity, more transparency. I’m not here to push it through or down anyone’s throat—I’m not going to be that guy. Let’s put the brakes on it, show we are listening to the community and concerned with everyone’s input, and slow it down.”

At its last council meeting, councilor Don Johnson announced his resignation from the village council, where he has served for 30 years, Bruton said.

The mayor appointed Jonathan Ortiz, who was on the village zoning commission, to fill the vacancy left by Johnson. Bruton described Ortiz as a “straightforward guy,” and “intelligent and has a good head on his shoulders.”

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Bruton described Johnson as a mentor.

In a proclamation in Johnson’s honor, it says he voted on more than 375 village resolutions; drafted, considered and voted on more than 45 ordinances; considered and voted on over 870 zoning applications; served as primary author for the villages personnel and zoning ordinances as they currently stand; helped oversee construction of village hall, the senior center, veteran’s park and the expansion of the village’s water utility over the course of 30 years of service.

“He’s a phenomenal guy,” Bruton said, adding that Ortiz “has some big shoes to fill.”

In his resignation letter of three sentences, Johnson wrote, “I have full confidence in the future of Tijeras with the Bruton Administration in charge.”