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If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Another incredibly bad decision from council on the Los Alamos Municipal Building. At a time when most state agencies are struggling for funding, including the schools, the council decides to spend $25MM+ on a huge municipal building, at the same time replacing tax-generating apartments with parking. It’s hard to see how this decision could have negatively impacted more people and organizations.
Local taxpayers will foot the bill in perpetuity. Lost in the discussion over replacement of the municipal building at the pond was the fact that the number of county employees has more than doubled while the size of the county, by any metric, has increased only marginally in the same time. And yet the new building is designed to accommodate a further increase in staff, and no one should expect that any government agency can leave empty space unfilled.
Could a more modest building and a property tax break perhaps have given the schools a chance at a mil levy to help with their funding issues? The residents of the apartments are most immediately affected, and at a time when apartments of this type are in short supply — that follows if you keep demolishing them. The lack of suitable apartments negatively impacts programs at LANL, an organization which a county-funded study recently decided was critical to economic stability.
In all likelihood, the lack of suitable accommodation will force some new employees off the hill. Young apartment dwellers are typically good consumers, they don’t have the responsibility of family or property, and these are the people who are being driven from town, so expect the local businesses to suffer from the loss of these consumers who were downtown and likely to frequent social venues and nearby stores.
Government structures, and especially overly large parking lots, do not encourage a vibrant downtown. People and a solid commercial property tax base are essential and a decision that removes both of those from our community should leave everyone angry at their elected officials.