BY JAMES ROBINSON
Los Alamos County Council
Good morning Los Alamos!
Last night the Los Alamos County Council held our regular session in-person at the Municipal Building and virtually.
The Council began the night with a presentation from Dekker/Perich/Sabatini about the process for updating our Chapter 18 of the County Code, also known as the Nuisance Code. This nine-month endeavor will include the County’s Community Development Advisory Board as a steering committee, a project website, survey, online comment and public meetings. Council was asked to provide our “top of mind” priorities, issues , and concerns about the current code and I provided the following:
- A graded approach where health and safety are first and aesthetic is last.
- Gathering information on what the public truly feels is a nuisance worthy of a crime.
- Making the code clearer for everyone.
- Evaluation of a complaint versus compliance driven system.
Next, the Council approved the various items on the Consent Agenda, and then proceeded to hold a public hearing on the Department of Public Utilities request for a resolution allowing them to increase a loan to complete Otowi Well #2 and Otowi Well #4. Due to the increase in material costs being seen across the industry, the bids for these two projects came in significantly higher than anticipated. DPU is seeking additional funding to add to a loan from the State of New Mexico to help fill that gap and take advantage of low interest rates. Council agreed and voted to accept the resolution.
Then, Council appointed a new member, Rachel Adler, to fill a vacancy on the Planning and Zoning Commission, and provided various board and commission liaison reports. An item I noted is that the Board of Public Utilities will be hearing an update on the Carbon Free Power Project at its next meeting.
Moving on, the Council then had a robust discussion concerning the appointment of Steven Lynne as the new County Manager. Chair Randall Ryti began the discussion with a lengthy review of the process Council followed, and comparison to other communities in New Mexico.
There was a motion to table this item until August to allow the limiting of candidates and appointment vote to happen in a public meeting. I supported that motion since I felt more time in the process would not hurt anything, and it would allow the public time to hear our decision making process. The motion ultimately failed 4 to 3. Follow-up discussion included the possibility of Council Procedural Rules Subcommittee looking at this process and recommendations for improvement.
A motion to appoint Mr. Lynne as the new County Manager then passed 6-1.
Council then ended the night with various comments and noting future agenda items.
Some agenda items I noted beyond the Carbon Free Power Project is that next meeting I will be introducing the new Animal Code that has been in the works for over a year. This will only be an introduction that will be followed up with a presentation and proposed timeline to gather as much public input is possible. Adoption will not be until much later.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to help!