No other way?

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By Ralph Damiani

The county council will meet in closed session Tuesday night to discuss plans for purchasing the Los Alamos Apartments.

We wish there was some other way to proceed here than once again government taking charge of local land.

We understand the concern that is felt by councilors about losing control. But at what point do we simply have everything run and owned by the county? We hope this is just a step in the process to turn this land over to private enterprise.

The council’s recent decision was said to be an effort to try to protect the county’s downtown revitalization plan. Good enough.

The apartments sit in the middle of Central Avenue, on what is considered a prime piece of downtown property.

As a result of the decision, the county gave Housing and Urban Development $75,000 in earnest money and authorized County Administrator Max Baker to execute the contract for purchase to acquire the buildings.

We can only assume that Tuesday’s meeting is a follow up to those discussions.

Besides the plan concern, the county was concerned that the Santa Fe County Civic Housing Authority would have purchased the property if we did not. If they passed on the offer, the foreclosure sale would have proceeded, which would have opened the sale up to anyone from anywhere.

And that is where we differ.

While we understand the concern of Santa Fe coming here and taking over, we do not see the problem of letting some private group that thinks it can use the land do so. What is wrong with that? Is not the stated purpose of the county’s plan to spur on development?

And if someone thinks they can use the land, why should the county be stopping them?

Now the council has said that they plan to turn this over to the private sector and we hope that is so. But until that happens, this is just more debt, more expense on local residents and more money the county has to come up with.

And it seems to us that an excess of money is not one of our pluses right now.