Casting yeas and nays

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Council votes no to etchings; yes to new signer on accounts

By Carol A. Clark

While failed Ordinance 555 drew top attention at Tuesday’s county council meeting, council also took time to clear other items from its agenda.

Councilors approved items on the consent agenda including action that adds Grants and Budget Manager Gina Coluzzi as an authorized signer on all county bank and investment accounts. With Steve Lynne’s promotion to administrative services director/chief financial officer, County Administrator Tony Mortillaro said it makes sense for operational efficiency to have an additional signer within the Office of Management and Budget.

Two signers are required to process transactions on most accounts. Council’s action also removed buyer Wes Murphy as an authorized signer on the county’s small purchase checking account, due to his retirement.

Investment broker firm Public Asset Management Group was added to diversify and increase the number of investment firms available to offer investments to the county.

Council rejected 4-2 with Councilor Nona Bowman absent, the Art in Public Places Board recommendation for the commission and placement of proposed artwork for the bus shelter located on Diamond Drive in front of the Golf Course and other bus shelter locations in the future.

The board requested approval of artwork and etching costs for 13 bus shelters.

“The agreed-upon cost for the artwork for each of the etchings is $500 and the etching itself could cost up to $4,500 per shelter,” Community Services Director Stephani Johnson said. “Staff is asking for council to approve an amount not to exceed $5,000.”

Council Vice Chair Sharon Stover spoke against the request saying she sees shelters for children in poor condition at locations around town and feels the money could be better used.

“I could live with the shelters staying the way they are now without any artwork,” she said.

Councilors Ralph Phelps and Mike Wheeler voted to approve the request and Chair Mike Wismer and councilors Robert Gibson and Vincent Chiravalle joined Stover in voting it down.

Council unanimously approved a construction maintenance easement to the New Mexico Department of Transportation for public highway purposes to provide for the placement of a historical marker on the north side of Trinity Drive south of Ashley Pond.

NMDOT will place and maintain the two-sided historic marker honoring accomplished Los Alamos residents, Marjorie Bell Chambers and Peggy Pond Church, as part of the Historic Women Marker Initiative. There is minimal fiscal or staff impact associated with the grant of easements, according to county documents.

Councilors unanimously approved appointing an impartial administrative committee to review a request to rename the North Mesa Soccer Field “Flint Field” in honor of the late Jim Flint. The former county administrator died in 2009.

The committee, consisting of county staff member Julie Habiger, Planning and Zoning Commission member Fred Roach, businesswoman Ina Acomb and citizens Steve Boerigter and Dawn Brown, was directed to provide its recommendation to County Administrator Tony Mortillaro no later than

June 1.

Council also voted 6-0 to appoint Republican Gary MacDonald, Democrat Carl Newton and Republican Dick Tatro to the Canvass Committee for the June 1 primary election. The Canvass Committee is required by law to meet within three days after the election to canvass the returns.

The committee will meet at 2 p.m. June 4 in the county clerk’s office, which is directed to coordinate the canvassing. The election results will be presented to council for certification at its regular meeting June 22.

Council voted 5-1, with Councilor Vincent Chiravalle opposed to amending Ordinance 556 by replacing it with Ordinance 556, which terminates the economic development project for HYTEC, Inc., HYTEC LLC, IMTEC Real Estate, LLC and 3M IMTEC Corporation. Council directed staff to republish the amended ordinance for a public hearing May 25.

The action stems from an announcement by 3M Corporation in March that all related business operations in Los Alamos County would close and all jobs would be eliminated. That put IMTEC Real Estate LLC, 3M IMTEC Corporation and the HYTEC companies in default of the Project Participation Agreement, loan agreement and secured promissory note that required, among other things, that all jobs remain in the county and that a total of 74 new jobs be created over a 10-year period as a condition of the county’s loan.

The default amounts to a $2.4 million loan under the county’s Small Business Financial Assistance Program. To date, the county has disbursed $2,032,475 to HYTEC for the construction of a 20,000 square foot building at Airport Basin.

The county held back $496,581 as retainage until a certificate of occupancy was issued for the building.

County Council’s next task is to consider adoption of the county’s FY-2011 budget during its meeting set for 7 p.m. Tuesday in Training Room 129 at Fire Station No. 3 in White Rock.