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Rick Reiss has put his hat back into the ring again; he recently announced he will be seeking another term as as a councilor on the Los Alamos County Council.
In 2012, Reiss was picked by the Los Alamos County Republicans to replace Ron Selvage, who stepped down for personal reasons.
Reiss said the main reason he is running for a second term is that he simply likes giving back to the community, and as a local businessman, he feels his efforts to protect and enhance Los Alamos’ business community is more important than ever.
“I think I can contribute to the council’s decisions in a positive way, I’m thoroughly enjoying myself and am pleased to continue to serve,” he said.
Reiss is a longtime member of the Kiwanis, having served as president, secretary and treasurer at various times. In the past, he has served as chairman of United Way as well as various positions on the Airport Board as well as the Planning and Zoning Commission. He’s also served on the board of the LA Public Schools foundation and is also a graduate and past board member of Leadership Los Alamos.
“I really enjoy making a difference and contributing to the community,” he said.
While a great majority of council is made up of personnel from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Reiss comes from ranks of residents that make their living on the other side of Omega Bridge, Los Alamos’ small but thriving business community. Along with business partner Margaret Ansell, he heads “LA Solutions” a mortgage brokerage located at 2101 Trinity Drive. With that type of experience, Reiss said he noticed a few things about the community that needs improvement.
“Encouraging our local businesses is not one of our strong suits,” he said regarding Los Alamos. He wants to further modify the county’s Strategic plan to help not only to attract new business to Los Alamos, but also support it. Part of that is realizing that Los Alamos’ business community doesn’t begin and end with downtown district. It’s time to focus on other areas as well such as districts just beyond the downtown zone as well as White Rock.
“Some of it has to do with community development, permitting and trying to get those looking to start up a business get through that maze,”
Though he said some people thought it was a minor detail, Reiss fought very hard to head off the recent hike in business license and other fees. The county was requesting a hike from $25 to $35 for the business fee.
“There were two things I didn’t appreciate about that… One was, people saying ‘everybody else is doing it’, and two, ‘it’s only $10.’ It’s my $10 if I’m running a small business, and it’s just another item that drives up the cost of doing business,” he said.
According to an article in the Los Alamos Monitor, he also challenged the $25 increase in liquor licenses and the $100 increase per season for food and high-risk vendors.
“It was the principle of the thing,” he said, adding that it was another thing where the money all went to the state and Los Alamos didn’t benefit. Reiss was voted down 6-1.
Though he considers himself a staunch supporter of the business community, he also feels it’s vitally important to work with his fellow councilors to get things done. “I think the current council works very well together, we communicate easily amongst each other, we don’t always agree, but my first priority is to work with other councilors,” he said.
He said his brand of conservatism comes from running a small business, and watching every dollar that comes in and
That applies to many other county issues too. One issue he’s concerned about is the way the state distributes tax revenue to finance indigent health care. “While the Council is generally in support of funding our hospital, it appears that much of our tax revenues collected for that purpose will be sent to other hospitals instead of Los Alamos Medical Center,” he said in a statement on his website, rick4council.com. “Our indigent care factor is low, but we have a huge economic engine that generates a lot of gross receipts tax. What happens is that we end up paying in $1.5 million but we only need $800,000 to cover our indigent care. We give up that other $700,000. That’s a very rough estimate, but in generally we pay in more than we get out and that’s not the way it’s supposed to work.”
Except for the 15 years he spent in Dallas, Reiss has been a lifelong resident of New Mexico. He moved to Los Alamos in 1993 as part of an investment group that acquired the Bank of Los Alamos, which later became Mountain Community Bank, which was later acquired by Community Bank. His wife Deborah is a Certified Public Accountant and partner of her tax accounting firm. Their two grown children, Rikki and Jason graduated from Los Alamos High School and presently live in Texas.