Letters to the Editor 10-17-18

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I support Regional Transit GRT Reauthorization

Dear Editor, The citizens of four counties, including Los Alamos, voted in 2008 to authorize a 1/8 percent Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) increment to support regional mass transit.

Although no ending date was voted upon, these counties imposed a January 1, 2024 sunset date. On this November’s ballot, we are asked to reauthorize the tax by removing the sunset date.

I strongly support a yes vote to continue the high value transit services that it provides. For people here who don’t have a car or the ability to drive, good transit service is a lifeline. All tax expenditures deserve scrutiny. This tax increment clearly provides good value to Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Taos counties.

Our transit systems are able to use the GRT funds as local matching funds to obtain substantial additional federal transportation tax support. In this way, 25 percent of the regional NCRTD “Blue Bus” system budget comes from federal funds. Our own Atomic City Transit system and the Santa Fe Trails bus system also receive support from this GRT. Los Alamos is proud to be a founding partner of the NCRTD system, which has grown to provide hundreds of thousands of rides per year to people throughout north central New Mexico.

NCRTD in recent years has won Government Finance Officers Association awards for the accuracy of its Comprehensive Financial Reports. If the GRT that supports 60 percent of NCRTD’s budget is uncertain after 2024, it will be difficult for the system to make the long-term investments needed to continue its operations efficiently. Reauthorizing this increment will not increase any taxes, but it will allow our valuable transit systems to continue to serve the people of northern New Mexico.

I urge you to vote yes on the County Regional Transit Gross Receipts Tax Reauthorization.

Pete Sheehey
Los Alamos County Councilor

Vote ‘no’ on RTD ‘Re-authorization’

Dear Editor,

The bus service will not go away if we vote “NO” on the re-authorization.

Here is what you are not being told:

Re-authorize means creating a new agreement and eliminating the sunset clause set for 2024.

The sunset clause sets a date by which we agree to continue spending our GRT dollars on the service. If we don’t agree in 2024, our participation ends. We are six years away from the end of the authorization but the county, council and RTD want to make this a permanent tax NOW.

The county and council like to have things run on autopilot, with minimal oversight. They like to set the spending of your tax dollars on “Set it and Forget it” mode. Remember the recent abuses with the Regional Coalition?

That is what happens when we allow our council and county to spend without closer oversight. I favor a requirement to review our expenditures periodically and be assured we are still interested in a project.

The sunset clause gives us that safety net. Services are better when the vendor knows that a contract renewal is not guaranteed. It will come up for review in 2024, and, if we still like it, we can approve it for another five years. Make the county and council do their jobs of sensibly spending our money!

Vote “no” on the RTD Re-authorization on Nov. 6.

A “no” vote does not discontinue bus services.

Brady Burke
Los Alamos

Granville is only sheriff’s candidate to vote against sheriff’s office

Dear Editor,

At the Oct. 9 Kiwanis sheriff’s forum, I asked the candidates how they had voted in the 2016 referendum to eliminate the office of sheriff.

Only candidate Joe Granville stated that he had voted against the continuing existence of the sheriff’s office. I find it curious that a candidate that was against the existence of the office now is seeking election to that position.

Even more so, given his opening speech at the League of Women Voters event, where he insisted that law enforcement and fire departments should not be subject to political elections. If so, why is he running for a political office of sheriff?

Mark Whitcomb
Los Alamos

Scott is excellent choice for county council

Dear Editor,

Sara Scott is an excellent choice for Los Alamos County Council. She is keenly intelligent and remarkably capable while at the same time being approachable, down-to-earth, and very “user-friendly.”

These attributes have been demonstrated in her successful career at LANL and everything else she does from contract work, to home and service projects, to her current candidacy.

Sara doesn’t do things halfway; when she takes on a project, she does thorough - but not belabored - analysis and planning, proceeds adeptly through implementation, and directs and controls appropriately through completion. Not only has she been responsible for large programs and budgets in her career, she gets things done at the grass roots level too. Sara is a people person.

She interacts well with people and brings out the best in them. Sara can work successfully with everyone from top level managers of government agencies to friends planning a shared vacation.

I am in that latter category and am privileged to have been a close friend for 23 years. I can attest to her listening and communication skills both personally (Thank you, Sara!) and from watching her attentive and thoughtful interactions with Los Alamos citizens coming from various backgrounds and viewpoints.

Sara is interested in all of us. Sara is well-qualified, dedicated, and believes in our community and its citizens. She exemplifies integrity and honesty in everything she does. Los Alamos could not ask for a better County Councilor than Sara Scott.

Please give her your vote – I certainly did!

Laura Bohn
Los Alamos