Edgewood may join NCRTD

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Transit: Board delays vote until September

By Whitney Jones

The North Central Regional Transit District may welcome a new voting fellow to its 11-member board of directors as soon as September.

Late last week, the Town of Edgewood formally requested approval to join the district during a public hearing at NCRTD’s regularly scheduled monthly board meeting.

Last December the board requested that Executive Director Tony Mortillaro send informational letters regarding board membership to all eligible non-members including the Town of Chama; the Village of Questa; Taos, Picuris and Nambe Pueblos; and Edgewood – of which only Questa and Edgewood responded with interest. But the Edgewood Town Council was the only entity to pass a formal resolution of intent to join NCRTD.

“We would really like to be a part of this board,” Edgewood Councilor Chuck Ring told board members.

He said adding Edgewood to the member rolls would be a momentous step forward giving the town a voice in district decision-making.

“It would be nice to be a part of the planning process,” Ring said.

He said Edgewood – which is split between three counties – has most of its population and tax base located in Santa Fe County adding that the town funnels gross receipts tax revenue to the district through Santa Fe County.

NCRTD also provides a route from Edgewood to the Santa Fe County Detention Center. According to the district, that route costs approximately $98,000 annually.

According to board bylaws, the NCRTD board must approve new membership with a two-thirds majority vote — or 20 voting units — after a public hearing.

By adding Edgewood to the board, the district’s voting mechanism would also change. The district currently operates with weighted voting – meaning board members from areas with more population have more voting strength.

For example, Los Alamos County – with a population of 17,950 – receives three voting units. San Ildefonso Pueblo – with a population of 672 – receives one voting unit. Each entity receives one voting unit for merely being a member.

According to a staff analysis, Edgewood would receive one voting unit should it be accepted as a member into the district increasing the total number of voting units from 29 to 30.

District staff recommended that the board approve the resolution adding Edgewood as a member.

But Santa Fe County Commissioner and district board member Kathy Holian said she’d like to take more time to review Edgewood’s potential membership pointing to likely inability for the board to reach the 20 voting units mark for membership approval at that time as several board members had already left the meeting.

“We need to have a substantial turnout,” District Legal Counsel Peter Dwyer said.
Dwyer recommended the board wait until attendance would be at its best, which would likely be at the beginning of the new school year.

The board agreed to postpone the decision until September until more members were likely to attend.

“Keep in mind I’m 72 years old,” Ring pointed out to the board in jest.