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Beware unsustainable expenses

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By Ellen Walton

Dear Editor,

Without the citizens who established our community’s businesses and service organizations and promoted the work done at the laboratory after World War II, Los Alamos would have either disappeared or remained only as an isolated military outpost. Neighboring counties did not want any part of postwar Los Alamos and neither the Atomic Energy Commission nor the state of New Mexico knew how to solve the “Los Alamos problem” of providing citizens’ rights.

Legislation ensued, which allowed Los Alamos to incorporate as a City/County and retain Home Rule. Eventually the AEC transferred its governmental functions to the new county and its citizens petitioned the state of New Mexico for a charter government. The authors of our charter sought a lasting form of civilian government and a permanent community and we must realize that goal.

Los Alamos County’s postwar net worth was less than $2 million because private land ownership had not been established, leaving little basis for levying taxes. Our net worth remained relatively small until Los Alamos National Security was contracted to run the lab. Last year our share of State Gross Receipt Tax income was over $42 million.


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