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Los Alamos County Council voted 6-0 to approve an office lease for the Los Alamos Fire Department administration staff at 999 Central Ave. during its meeting Tuesday night.
Councilor Rick Reiss recused himself, since he has an ownership interest and is the managing member of the business that owns the building. The motion included a waiver of conflict of interest.
Recognizing that conflict of interest may arise, particularly in small communities, the County Procurement Code and the New Mexico Governmental Conduct Act both allow for the waiver under certain conditions. Those are:
LAPD administration has occupied offices at 195 East Road, Suite 101, since 1994. The current space has several issues that needed to be addressed. Those are:
LAFD evaluated six properties, including the current one. The 7,290-square-foot 999 Central Ave. location came in at the lowest bid, at $14,549.63 per month for the base year. The highest bid was for the 3M building, at $26,415. The property managers were unwilling to rent half the building to meet LAFD’s space requirements.
The 999 Central Ave. building also had the best match for LAFD’s criteria. The property manager agreed to pay up to $150,000 to reconfigure the space based upon a design provided by LAFD. The space has adequate, designated parking for both large vehicles and staff vehicles. The proximity to the new municipal building is another advantage, since LAFD has had a 20 percent reduction in staff vehicles due to cuts in federal spending.
“I think one of the sensitivities is the involvement of Councilor Reiss in this transaction,” Councilor David Izraelevitz said. “There are unavoidable circumstances, and I would hate to impose additional burdens on the fire department’s efficiencies for the sake of the appearances. The easiest thing to do would be to disqualify that property, but that would be burdening the fire department in regards to space they need to make them efficient.”
Councilor Pete Sheehey urged other businesses in town to reconsider both their rates and defraying costs for reconfiguring space to adapt it to prospective renters’ needs.
“I hope we can set a precedent and encourage other landowners to work with us. We want downtown property used. You can still make a good profit,” Sheehey said.