I just read Council Chair, David Izraelevitz’ commentary in support of the re-authorization for the Northern Central Regional Transportation District tax. It was a lovely piece that described the benefits of the service and potential risks associated with not supporting the re-authorization of the GRT tax for those services.
Like all the other proponents of the measure, his focus is on the bus service and not the ballot, itself.
Here are some items missing from article but require consideration:
The use of the term ‘re-authorization’ just confuses the issue. Reauthorize could mean to extend the current allocation of GRT taxes to the NCRTD, and that is what they want you to think it means. See how they say your taxes won’t go up.
What it really means is to tear up the original agreement and create a new one, eliminating the sunset clause set for 2024. The sunset clause sets a date by which we have to agree to continue spending our GRT dollars on the service. If we don’t agree in 2024, our participation ends.
We are six years away from the end of the authorization and the County, Council and RTD want to make this a permanent tax. At a time when our GRT is in question, I see this as poor judgement.
The other thing we lose is the requirement that we review our involvement in the program, periodically.
The County and Council like to have things run on autopilot, with minimal oversight. They like to set the spending of your tax dollars on ‘Set it and forget it’ mode. I do not. Remember the recent issues with the Regional Coalition? That is what happens when we allow our Council and County to spend without closer oversight.
I favor a requirement that we review our expenditures periodically and be assured we are still interested in a project. If the services, outside of the Atomic City Transit, no longer benefit Los Alamos, we should be able to easily separate ourselves from them. The sunset clause gives us that safety net.
The correct approach to this issue is to revisit the authorization at 5 year increments and let the voters decide if it is in our best interest to renew.
Believe me, services tend to be better when the vendor knows that a contract renewal is not guaranteed. This service will not go away if we vote ‘NO’ on the re-authorization. It will come up for review in 2024, and, if we still like it, we can approve it for another 5 years.
Let’s make the County and Council do their jobs of watching how they spend our money. That’s why we pay them.
Vote ‘NO’ on the Reauthorization on November 6.
Candidate for Los Alamos County Council