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The first order of business for the new Los Alamos County Council was electing its officers. Council Vice Chair Sharon Stover was unanimously elected council chair and newly seated Councilor Jim Hall was elected 4-3 to serve as elected vice chair.
The council, with its four newly elected members, held its first meeting of 2011 Tuesday night in council chambers.
“I’m honored to serve and I look forward to working with everyone on council,” Stover told the Los Alamos Monitor.
With seven members, each with their own opinions, Stover said the new council is “really good” and that it had a lot of issues to address.
“It’s always an honor to be recognized by your colleagues,” Hall said. “I appreciate the trust and the confidence that it represents and I’ll do my best to try and help create an effective council that will act in the best interest of the citizens of Los Alamos. Finally, I look forward to serving with Chair Sharon Stover and the other councilors.”
In other business, council voted 4-3 to take no action on a citizen petition, which asked that concrete paving rather than asphalt be used on the N.M. 4 capital improvement project.
Peter Cantrup, who submitted the petition, urged council to consider using concrete because of its aesthetic value and durability. Concrete, he said, “is like money in the bank,” it will go a long way in saving money on road repairs.
Don Clem, an engineer from Centennial, Colo., also said there were benefits to using concrete on roads. It makes beautiful roadways, is light reflective and is cooler than asphalt in the summer, he said, adding that concrete also offers competitive costs and requires less maintenance.
Public Works Director Kyle Zimmerman said he was unsure about the durability of concrete. The concrete poured in some areas of town is crumbling and other concreted areas are doing fine, he said. It’s a matter of whether the contractor did everything correctly.
If council approved looking into using concrete, it would cost $10,000 in consultant fees to conduct the research.
Chair Kent Budge of the White Rock Master Plan Implementation Committee said that using concrete presents several problems. Its light reflective quality could be a problem for drivers when the sunlight hits the road at certain times during the day. Budge said ice accumulating on a concrete road also could be a problem.
He added that White Rock residents who attended committee meetings expressed concerns with traffic noise along N.M.4, which could be worsened if concrete was used on the highway.
“I’m here to urge you at this very first meeting … to set precedence for good governance,” said Steve Boerigter, an implementation committee member. He urged council to trust the county employees’ expertise and knowledge.
Councilor Vincent Chiravalle said concrete seemed “too risky at this point.” He added there didn’t seem to be any guarantee that the contractor recommended for the job would follow proper procedures to ensure the concrete is properly installed.
Councilors Ron Selvage and Geoff Rogers disagreed.
Selvage pointed out there is no guarantee that the asphalt will be applied correctly either.
Rogers added, “I think we should at least entertain the idea.” He said it is good governance to look at various options.