BY JAMES ROBINSON
Los Alamos County Councilor
Happy New Year Los Alamos!
After what has felt like an eternity, 2020 has to come to an end.
As the clock struck midnight, I cheered to the end to a challenging year, but also the official halfway point for my term on Council.
When I announced my candidacy in 2018, I focused on four areas that I would like to work on as a Councilor to improve Los Alamos County. These areas were:
- Infrastructure and Housing
- Clarification of County Ordinances
- Environmental Initiatives
- Tourism and Recreation
With the new year, I would like to provide a brief update on what progress has been made in those areas. Overall, I believe myself, and the Council, have made great progress on these initiatives.
Infrastructure and Housing:
- I happily joined the Council in temporarily ending the “Profit Transfer” from the Utilities Department to increase money for necessary infrastructure maintenance and upgrades
- I served as the Council Liaison to the North Mesa Housing Steering Committee. This committee helped develop the North Mesa Housing Study, which lead to the County entering into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Los Alamos Public Schools for a potential housing development on North Mesa.
- I happily supported the Canyon Walk and Bluff Apartments on DP Road. Both housing complexes are currently under construction and are expected to be completed next year.
Clarification of County Ordinances:
- I am currently working with the Los Alamos Police Department and the County Attorney’s office to update Animal Control Code based on work done by the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee.
- I joined the Council in initiating the update to our Development Code with the Downtown Master Planning effort. The new code is expected to be presented to Council in 2021.
- I worked with the Community Development Advisory Board to issue a Request For Proposal to update Nuisance Code. Utilizing the great work of this board, this update expected to begin early 2021.
- Council approved the creation of Community Compost Program after the Council subcommittee of Councilor Martin, Sheehey, and I recommended this as a possible first step to reduce waste instead of banning plastic bags.
- I happily supported authorizing the Utilities Department to enter into an agreement with UMPER to add wind and solar energy generation to our energy mix, as well as, continually supporting the UAMPS Small Modular Reactor (SMR) project.
- I am personally working with County Staff and New Mexico Game and Fish on a program to replace our existing waste roll-carts with Bear Resistant waste roll-carts to reduce human-bear interactions.
Tourism and Recreation:
- I was happy to support Council’s purchase the WAC building, and look forward to building a community group to design the building’s future.
- I was happy to support the LEDA agreement with Marriott for a hotel and convention center, and Pebble Labs for a new facility by the airport.
- I was extremely happy to reauthorize the recreation projects that were paused pending the GRT decision. This resulted in:
- Golf Course Irrigation Project being completed
- Ice Rink Construction Project being is completed
- White Rock Splash Pad, which is under construction
- Multi-Generational Pool, which the budget was expanded to meet community wants
This is just a sample of the various actions me and Council has undertaken in the last two years. Beyond these four campaign areas, I have personally enjoyed working the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee, the Community Development Advisory Board, the North Mesa Steering Committee and many other groups over the last two years. These groups are formed of dedicated citizens who only want to make Los Alamos an even better place to live.
Although I feel this is great progress, I would be remised if I didn’t mention some of the disappointments that I have experienced during the first half of my term. From the failure of land transfers, the UnQuarked situation, Family Strengths Network delay, delay inthe BMX track, and the road diet on Trinity. Not all decisions and actions have gone forward as I would have liked to see them.
Finally, I was disheartened to see the results from the Governance section of the resent Community Survey at the end of 2020. I take those results to heart and I promise to work hard to improve in those areas that ranked the lowest. We, as Council, must do better.
In the end, I eagerly look forward to the next two years, and cannot wait to see what this new Council is able to accomplish for Los Alamos County.
As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to email me at email@example.com