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T-board intends to take on more work projects

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By Katy Korkos

The Transportation Board held a special meeting Thursday to fill in the blanks of the work plan template provided to them by the county.The county requires each of the boards and commissions to submit an annual work plan for review each February, so this is the time of year for each board to define what issues they want to deal with in the upcoming months. The work plan year runs concurrently with the fiscal year, from July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009.Each item on the work plan must fit within the county’s vision statement, adopted by council in 2002. The “Envision Los Alamos” statement includes several items that pertain directly to the Transportation Board, such as “improve mobility,” “upgrade infrastructure,” “diversify the economy” and “act regionally.”The purpose of the Transportation Board is to oversee transportation matters, review the snow and ice control plan and advise the county council concerning such matters. Its list of accomplishments in the last working year was a long one, including narrowing down the options for an intersection for the proposed West Jemez Bypass, reviewing plans for the Diamond Drive reconstruction and suggesting that sidewalks be built on the Trinity-Sandia Loop.“The board serves as a reality check for staff,” Mark Dunham said. Dunham is the newest member of the board, and would like to see board members have greater influence on transportation issues, both locally and regionally.Board members would like to expand the scope of their input to council, and will draft wording in their plan for the coming year that shows that intention to become more involved in transportation decisions. They also would like to expand their overview to extend to regional transportation issues and to have a say on air transportation, state roads and light rail.“Ideally, the staff would make a presentation to us, and describe the background and the history to us,” Dunham said. He added that what often happens instead is that the staff presents finished plans to the board, which then gives its approval.Council must approve each of the work plans, and the boards also are responsible for producing a report that shows how they have made progress toward the county’s goals. To expand its role, board chair Neale Pickett suggested wording in the upcoming work plan to read: “The board will continually provide council with advice on long-term goals,” and “The board will regularly form task forces to provide motions to council.”All of the board and commission meetings are held in public, in accordance with the public meetings act. County residents are welcome to attend the meetings, and each meeting includes a period for public comment. The regularly scheduled meetings of the board are at 5:30 p.m. the first Thursday of each month in the Public Works conference room in the modular buildings at 1925 Trinity Drive.Board vacancies are advertised on the county’s website. Board terms are for two years. The terms of Ron Morgan, Norbert Ensslin, Mary McKee-Horina and Neale Pickett expire at the end of February, and they may be eligible for reappointment by council. For more information on board duties and vacancies, go to www.losalamosnm.us under the heading “Boards and Commissions.”