BY MAYOR O’NEILL
Taos County Commissioners voted 4-1 Tuesday morning to withdraw from the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities. Commissioner Candyce O’Donnell, Darlene Vigil, AnJenette Brush and Jim Fanbro voted in favor of the withdrawal and Commissioner Mark Gallegos voted towards.
Taos Metropolis Councilor and recently-elected RCLC Chairman addresses the Fee forward of his vote
“I simply need to say that over the previous two years now we have labored very onerous to place in place stronger accounting practices and be very inclusive of the completely different views of voters from all of our member communities. I absolutely acknowledge that a lot of the work of the (Los Alamos Nationwide) Lab is contested by many, and I personally oppose the manufacturing of the pit as properly, however the RCLC works on a consensual foundation to advocate. communities and there are some points that we agree on just like the diversification of the lab’s mission and there are different missions that member communities won’t ever absolutely agree on, ”mentioned Fernandez.
He mentioned that many constituents in Los Alamos pushing for extra properly manufacturing work, for instance, within the lab, and naturally in our communities and in Santa Fe, we in our commissions and councils have handed resolutions. opposing the manufacturing of wells, ”he mentioned. mentionned. “I’ve met many constituents time and time once more and perceive their considerations and take a look at to make sure that their considerations are heard extra cohesively and in numerous locations on the RCLC agenda. We invited them to our retreats and actually tried to succeed in out and let folks know their voices are being heard as we proceed to champion the lab’s mission.
Fernandez mentioned the lab will not be leaving anytime quickly.
“What we’re listening to from the lab director is that there’s going to be an enlargement of many alternative actions on the lab and we see that with the federal price range we see that from the federal delegation and the problem stays, the lab goes to be right here, what sort of seat can we need to proceed to have on the desk. And if there’s a higher technique to symbolize all of New Mexico’s pursuits within the lab’s operations, then I am all for it, ”he mentioned.
Fernandez mentioned if the Fee’s determination was to withdraw from the RCLC, “then that is comprehensible.”
“I feel each group that is concerned on this ought to actually check out what future involvement means and hopefully make a dedication to remain concerned for an additional yr as we work to recoup our grants and return the cash. related group and a stronger voice for residents of northern New Mexico. If the Fee decides to withdraw right now I perceive that may be a chance and we hope the county would stay concerned if the county determined to withdraw and be a part of at one other time, that is additionally acceptable ”, a Fernandez mentioned.
Commissioner Fanbro proposed “to approve and ship a discover of withdrawal from membership within the RCLC Joint Jurisdiction Settlement with the addition of if issues change and there’s a actual profit to the RCLC. Taos County finally, that we’d revisit the matter ”. He mentioned he did not need a timeline.
“Let’s simply watch it. I consider in Darien (Fernandez). He is somebody I belief. Perhaps it will likely be in a number of months. It might be in a number of years. I am undecided, ”Fanbro mentioned.
Vice-Chair Darlene Vigil agreed that the Fee ought to proceed to watch the RCLC.
“I belief our President Fernandez, however let’s watch him,” she mentioned.
Surprisingly, Commissioner Mark Gallegos disagreed. Gallegos was the county consultant to the RCLC, however on April 27, 2018, he immediately stopped attending conferences of the RCLC. The truth is, Taos County was solely represented for 2 or three conferences by Appearing Commissioner Tom Blankenhorn from when Gallegos stopped attending till Commissioner Darlene Vigil took over in January. 2021.
“Respectfully, Mr. Fernandez, it appears to me that we anticipate you to hold the burden of the complete county in your shoulders to realign or align what the RCLC mission can be. I used to be a county member for a number of years and at the moment the mission was to proceed supporting the cleanup across the affected communities, whether or not it was the pueblo communities or if it was going to have an effect on the decrease a part of the hill. I feel possibly there weren’t as many applications that benefited Taos County as a complete or Taos Metropolis as a complete, or any of the opposite small surrounding communities, ”Gallegos mentioned. . “However I feel for there to be a change there must be a dedication, and for us as a county to be disengaged there is no such thing as a motive to return again when the whole lot is settled and able to go.” perform and that every one cylinders are working ”.
He mentioned if the county consultant had been to proceed to be part of that council, “you make these adjustments inside, do not wait for somebody to make the adjustments, then get on the bus and get on board.” It bothers me a bit that we carry ahead a movement to maneuver away from that, respectfully, to all commissioners, I perceive the place you are from, however for those who’re on the board for these few years.
Commissioner Brush mentioned she knew that sure pursuits didn’t at all times align between communities.
“However I do know that right here in our group and within the south of us as properly, there are some critical considerations and points that we wish to see influenced as as to whether this influences the Division of Power or the LANL itself. even like the intense water points, the cleanup points, the concept of doing (the site-wide environmental influence evaluation) earlier than the enlargement occurs, she mentioned. . “Over time, have we obtained any studies of progress, outcomes or advantages in these broad areas that had been of actual concern to constituents?”
Fernandez responded that the lab cleansing contractor (N3B) reported to the Coalition on the cleanup actions and “the state of some areas and particularly in relation to the water monitoring wells which can be inspecting the hexavalent chromium plume affecting the water going in direction of San Ildefonso. Pueblo ”.
Fernandez talked about a report by UNM’s Workplace of Financial and Commerce Analysis, generally referred to by members of the RCLC board of administrators the BBER report. He mentioned the report confirmed “the hole when it comes to tax assortment in comparison with what communities must put in place to assist Lab staff and the disparity that reveals Los Alamos is the one county to learn economically. and that Taos and Rio Arriba will not be ”.
Fernandez mentioned this examine was really funded by the RCLC.
“This examine was really funded by the Coalition. It has been contracted by the Coalition in order that we will higher perceive the gaps and the problems, in order that we will work to repair them. We can not clear up an issue until we first know what it’s and if the Coalition has carried out one stable factor over the previous two years, it was the commissioning of this report that confirmed us the place exactly the member communities should be extra engaged when it comes to a fairer tax coverage across the lab, ”he mentioned. (It was later identified that the Los Alamos Nationwide Laboratory commissioned the report which analyzes the financial and monetary impacts of LANL on the area.
“It definitely takes a couple of particular person to face up for the group and push for extra of those ancillary lab alternatives to be introduced right here. One factor the Coalition has carried out to contribute to that is in unity that these communities attain out to laboratory administrators, outreach companions and demand that extra of those contracts be reviewed in our communities and likewise shows on them. fundamental contractors right here to allow them to higher perceive. the procurement course of, ”Fernandez mentioned.
Commissioner Brush requested Fernandez if the RCLC had taken any particular positions or actions primarily based on any updates or public feedback obtained on the conferences.
“The RCLC has not at all times been a really lively group to be frank – considered one of its shortcomings over the previous two years. Writing the brand new JPA was a technique to begin addressing this problem and shifting price range administration extra from Los Alamos County alone, which clearly advantages it, and extra to among the member counties to allow them to play a extra position. vital within the group. Fernandez mentioned. “On prime of that, we have heard from lab reps who need to reply lots of questions posed by members of the general public, however sadly these lab reps should undergo a course of and make clear the whole lot that is going to be. mentioned with their superiors within the Lab hierarchy and in Washington. What we’re dedicated to doing as a corporation is to work with constituents, elevating their considerations to the suitable members of the lab in order that they’ve time to get questions answered and produce them to the desk. the Coalition in order that extra of our voters’ considerations might be answered. “
Requested by Commissioner Brush if he had any thought why the Metropolis of Santa Fe and Jemez Pueblo didn’t signal the amended APP, Fernandez replied, “Politics?”
When it was identified that the BBER examine was the truth is funded by LANL, Fernandez mentioned it was corrected.
“It was largely funded largely by LANL and the place the RCLC stepped in was at one level, LANL representatives tried to change the examine to take away the point out of the discrepancies that LANL (sic) advantages to the detriment of different communities and this info is at all times obtainable. Due to the RCLC advocacy, we all know there’s a hole and that member communities want to think about a fairer tax coverage across the lab, ”he mentioned.