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County should help schools

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By Vincent Chiravalle

Dear Editor,

Los Alamos Pubic Schools is highly regarded for academic excellence and make Los Alamos a desirable place to live. We must ensure that the schools have classrooms and facilities that live up to this reputation. I applaud the school district for formulating a plan to revitalize aging school facilities including the high school, middle school and Aspen Elementary School.

As a community we need to support this plan; however now is not a good time for an increased tax burden on our citizens. Many people have lost their jobs, several homes are in foreclosure, more than 400 homes are on the market and people are paying considerably more for gas relative to just a few years ago. We should not be indifferent to these conditions by expecting citizens to now pay more property tax.

The school district can implement a facility repair plan without homeowners paying more property tax if the school district and the county work together, since both of these government bodies receive property tax revenue. The county receives much more revenue from gross receipts tax than from property tax.

If the county were to lower its property tax to offset an increase in the tax from the school district, more tax revenue would go to the school district enabling the district to finance general obligation bonds for a facility repair plan. In such an approach homeowners would not see an increase in their overall property tax.

I favor this type of approach and I believe it is feasible without impacting the debt obligations and the essential services of the county. We must work to achieve our county goals while living within our means. The most important job for the council is to look carefully and critically at public spending.

It is essential that we hold our capital improvement projects within budget and we prioritize our future spending. We are a small community and we are best served by frugal projects. In my view looking toward the future helping our schools is more important than things such as expansive road work, building demolition projects and elaborate warehouses.

Los Alamos council candidate