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County: Councilors reaffirm their agreement with schools

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By Jennifer Garcia

County officials and Los Alamos School Board members have come to consensus regarding property on Trinity Drive.

As a result, both entities have been working together to form an agreement to move construction forward in that area.

During Tuesday night’s county council meeting, councilors passed a motion authorizing the council chair to sign a document representing the principles affirming a partnership between the Los Alamos Public School District and Los Alamos County.

The document outlines the following complimentary goals in achieving what is described as a “win-win” outcome for both the county and the schools, with a large benefit to the community:

• Replace the aging facilities on Trinity Site that are becoming an increasing liability each year that will require a major expenditure of funds. The new facilities at the Airport Basin Site will provide significantly better facilities and working conditions and will improve efficiency and productivity;

• Engage in the Trinity Redevelopment project while at the same time protecting the traditional LAPS funding sources for upgrading and replacing schools;

• Increase the assessed valuation of the Trinity Site land by encouraging new development thereby generating additional property tax revenue for replacement of facilities and capital expenditures;

• Generate new and ongoing lease revenue for LAPS and property taxes and additional GRT for the county; and

• Make the Trinity Site available for development to enhance the downtown and the vitality of the entire community.

“For well over 20 years, the county has been talking about Trinity as a revitalization project,” Council Vice Chair Mike Wismer said, pointing out that negotiations with Boyer have been difficult and that a change in verbiage that would benefit both the county and the schools caused some confusion with the school district, making negotiations even tougher.

“This is a really complicated, technical agreement that must be approved by many parties before we can see revitalization on the Trinity Site,” he said. “We hope to be able to get there from here.”

During the meeting, School Board President Joan Ahlers was present and briefly addressed council.

Following the motion made by Wismer, Councilor Vincent Chiravalle said that he strongly agrees with the principles outlined in this project.

“I don’t favor using Trinity for anything other than retail,” he said.

Councilor Ralph Phelps said that the agreement is a great example of the county and schools working together for a mutual assistance.

“It’s a good foundation to build on,” Phelps said.

Council Chair Michael Wheeler said that it was very difficult to filter through the lease agreement document.

“Its intent is to demonstrate and reaffirm the goals of retail for the community and revenues to the schools,” he said.

After a vote, the motion made by Wismer passed 5-1, with Councilor Robert Gibson voting against it.