Goals outlined at strategic planning meeting

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By Jennifer Garcia

County councilors and staff from various departments met Feb. 27 in council chambers as part of a strategic planning session.

The purpose of the session was to discuss and update the management action plans for the strategic goals and objectives; the draft of financial support of Los Alamos Public Schools guiding principles and environmental sustainability objectives.

The first discussion centered on the proposed strategic goals and objectives of the county.  The goals were listed as follows:

1. Maintain quality essential routine services and supporting infrastructure;

2. Maintain intergovernmental relations

3.Strengthen coordination and cooperation between LANL and the regional community;

4. Diversify the economy/revitalize White Rock and Los Alamos downtowns;

5. Enhance environmental quality and sustainability; and

6. Improve transportation and mobility.

Part of goal one includes the municipal building project. During the discussion of that goal, County Administrator Max Baker said that staff has gone back to square one as far as the municipal building is concerned.

“The process needs to be very open and bring over citizens along with the project. When we move expeditiously, people lose sight of the project,” he said.

He also said that the early process will include a selection of a site for the building. “It would be my suggestion that we don’t take years (to do this) like some projects have,” Baker commented. He also said that a 50-year design for the building should be looked at.

When staff discussed maintaining intergovernmental relations, a few different things were brought up. One of the ways in which the county is making an effort to maintain relations with Santa Fe County is the cross deputizing of police officers.

Police Chief Wayne Torpy mentioned that the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department has deputized the entire force of the Los Alamos Police Department so that they can investigate accidents on NM 4.

“Now we can work the accident and open the roadway sooner,” he said.

Assistant County Administrator Anthony Mortillaro said the county is developing a regional outreach program to advocate for LANL to Congress.

“We’ll have a meeting with the North Regional Partner communities and see if there’s commitment from the regional partners, not just by word, but by dollars,” Mortillaro said. As far as working to strengthen the federal support for LANL, Mortillaro said that the county will work closely with the lab on that particular goal.

“Past council thought this was very important to do,” Councilor Robert Gibson said, regarding working to strengthen federal support for LANL. “Now it’s actually time to do something. It can’t wait for a long time,” he warned.

Councilor Vincent Chiravalle concurred with Gibson. “Advocating for LANL at a federal level is important,” he said.

Diversifying the economy and revitalizing White Rock and Los Alamos downtowns also seemed to be important to councilors and county staff. As part of diversifying the economy, Los Alamos County has some projects underway.

Community Development Director Rick Bohn mentioned the Airport Basin project, as well as 500 proposed new housing sites for Los Alamos.

County Economic/Marketing Coordinator Kelly Stewart talked briefly about what is being done to measure visitors to White Rock and more specifically, Bandelier.

“We’re working directly with Bandelier and we’re trying to work with the Chamber in an effort to measure visitors. LACDC collects information on a regular basis,” she said.

Councilor Nona Bowman said that a lot needs to be done as far as signage to Bandelier and Los Alamos is concerned.

“A billboard would be helpful. We are not capturing the people who eat in our restaurants and stay in our hotels as much as we’d like. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” she continued.

During discussion of environmental goals, Community Services Director Stephani Johnson commended Environmental Services Manager Regina Wheeler for doing a “wonderful job.”

Part of the county’s goals for enhancing environmental quality and sustainability include establishing baselines and conservation goals. Wheeler said that they are embarking on the process of baselining and setting goals.

“We’ll get all our data and find out how much fuel we’ve used and set a target,” she said.

In regard to goal number six, which includes developing a transportation master plan, Gibson wanted to know how much of the money to develop the master plan would go towards staffing costs.

Public Works Director Kyle Zimmerman said that the majority of the staff work will be done by outside consultants.

Following discussion of the goals, verbiage was changed on some of the goals; however, after the changes were made, all six of the goals were approved by council.