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County fails to support local businesses

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By The Staff

The Los Alamos County council certainly talks-the-talk when it comes to supporting local businesses, but they and the county departments fail to walk-the-walk. In at least two current situations, Pet Pangaea and KRSN 1490 radio, this lack of support borders on active obstructiveness.

Pet Pangaea has served an enthusiastic base of local customers for several years. The business, however, has met with continuous roadblocks to its quest for expansion, the latest of which is sublimely ridiculous. Pet Pangaea needs to replace the HVAC system for their expansion space at Central Park Square. Apparently, this is a case of the straw that breaks the camel’s back, since the county has decided that the current electrical transformer is not adequate and that Pet Pangaea must pay to have the transformer upgraded.

How many different ways can this be wrong? For one thing, if the load on the current transformer is so precariously close to exceeding its limit, it needs to be replaced as county infrastructure. The Department of Public Utilities is already replacing electric switchgear (at $1.2 million) to support the downtown development, why not the transformer?

And what about the load from the new municipal building?

One also wonders why replacing a poorly functioning HVAC system with a new efficient one, in a complex with an increasing vacancy rate, would exceed current capacity anyway.  But, if Pet Pangaea does have to pay for a new transformer, would they be the sole user of the transformer? Or, could they charge the county and others for the “use” of their transformer?

That would be private enterprise at its greatest!

In the case of KRSN radio station, the planning and zoning board and county Community Development Department have been big nay-sayers, throwing up rejection after rejection, but with no real attempt to help the station owners find a way to place the antenna they need to reach a broader customer base. Ours cannot be the first case of an AM radio antenna being placed in an urban area or on a water tower. Yet, the county officials are too busy saying why something can’t be done to figure out how it can be done.

I am not suggesting that the county government favor any one business over another, in either of these cases. I do wonder why, though, the county cannot extend to small businesses the same courtesies that are extended to large developers or the same level of service to existing local businesses that is extended to solicit new big-box businesses.

Mary Barr

Los Alamos