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Today's News

  • County Staff recommendations

    The Gross Receipts Tax revenue for fiscal year 2013 and for future years, is projected to be significantly lower than in previous years. Since this is the primary funding source for most general governmental operations and capital projects, some changes must be made in order to move back toward having a balanced budget.
    Given this context, Council would expect that the FY 2014 proposed budget would be developed with noticeable changes in all of the following six categories. Changes in each area should be pursued to the extent deemed helpful and practical.
    1. Fund balance — use of fund balance is expected when severe revenue fluctuations occur. The following parameters serve as guidelines.
    a. Use of up to 100 percent of the fund balance committed for revenue stabilization through the end of FY 2016 is acceptable as long as the projected balance at the end of FY 2017 returns to the policy target level of 5 percent of revenues. This is an extension beyond the current financial policies.
    b. Manage all other variables so that the unassigned fund balance is maintained at the policy target level of 20 percent of revenues.
    c. Re-evaluate all fund balance levels for potential re-programming and possible re-capture back into the general fund.

  • Update 01-30-13

    Brisket night

    The LAHS NJROTC will host brisket night from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday at the Posse Lodge. A $10 donation includes barbecue pork, potato salad, baked beans, corn, a cookie and drink. Proceeds go toward competition travel.

    LALT deadline

    The deadline for receiving proposals for plays to be performed in the 2013-14 Los Alamos Little Theatre season is Thursday. Visit lalt.org for instructions.

    Sierra Club

    Mariel Nanasi, executive director of New Energy Economy, will speak on “Securing a future with coal in New Mexico,” at the LASE/Sierra Club meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 6 in media room 203, building two at UNM-LA.

    Have a news tip?

    Send press releases, photos and videos to laeditor@lamonitor.com or contact the newsroom at 662-4185.

    Pancake breakfast

    The Los Alamos Sheriff’s Posse Lodge will hold a pancake breakfast from 7-11 a.m. Feb. 3 at the Posse Lodge, 650 North Mesa Road. The cost is $7 for adults and $4 for children ages 10 and younger.

    Garden club

    The Summit Garden Club will meet Feb. 4, with guest Kimberly Tanner speaking on the topic of “Starting plants from seed, in a very, very small space.” Visitors welcome. For more information, call Nancy Nunnelly at 662-4950.

  • Isotope differences clarified

     Geologists have known for decades that the sandstones near Santa Fe and Española contain uranium. The yellow and brown mineral coatings on sand grains will kick a Geiger counter but are not rich enough to be mined at the present time. Most water wells in the area contain detectable uranium. More than 200 private and public wells contain uranium in excess of the drinking water health standard of 30 parts-per-billion and some wells contain hundreds of ppb. The primary health concern of uranium in drinking water is kidney toxicity.
    Los Alamos National Laboratory sits west of the Santa Fe-Española area, west of the Rio Grande. A New Mexico Environment Department investigation in 1995 concluded that the uranium in rocks and groundwater east of the Rio Grande, in the Santa Fe-Española area, was naturally occurring and did not come from LANL. These findings have been confirmed by a second study by NMED, LANL and three water-quality businesses in Santa Fe.
    One way to distinguish between natural and manmade uranium is by testing for its different isotopes. U-234, U-235 and U-238 are naturally occurring isotopes. U-236 is a manmade isotope that does not occur in nature. The ratios of natural isotopes, and the presence or absence of U-236, can be used to fingerprint sources of uranium.

  • County selects branding company

    Los Alamos County’s Economic Development Division announced Tuesday that it has selected Nashville, Tenn.-based North Star Destination Strategies, Inc. to conduct targeted research to define and develop a unified brand for the community of Los Alamos.
    This six to eight-month project is scheduled to kick-off next week with the research and planning phase, starting with the collection and assessment of existing data, including research, plans, communication and media, as well as an “in-market” visit to tour the community and to conduct interviews.
    Then, new research will be conducted, including an online community survey, a resident profile and a competitive positioning review, as well as both qualitative and quantitative perception studies.
    The data collected will be used to create a strategic brand platform or storyline that defines the target audience, frame of reference, point of difference (what makes Los Alamos unique) and benefit (to the prospective audience).

  • County selects branding company

    Los Alamos County’s Economic Development Division announced Tuesday that it has selected Nashville, Tenn.-based North Star Destination Strategies, Inc. to conduct targeted research to define and develop a unified brand for the community of Los Alamos.
    This six to eight-month project is scheduled to kick-off next week with the research and planning phase, starting with the collection and assessment of existing data, including research, plans, communication and media, as well as an “in-market” visit to tour the community and to conduct interviews.
    Then, new research will be conducted, including an online community survey, a resident profile and a competitive positioning review, as well as both qualitative and quantitative perception studies.
    The data collected will be used to create a strategic brand platform or storyline that defines the target audience, frame of reference, point of difference (what makes Los Alamos unique) and benefit (to the prospective audience).

  • Taxes on table for FY2015

    The Los Alamos County Council weighed several options for a long-term plan to address decreasing revenues at Tuesday’s mid-year budget meeting.

    After a lengthy discussion, it was determined council would delay any consideration of new property taxes until FY2015.

    “We need to realize that we are not poor,” Council Chair Geoff Rodgers said. “What we’ve done, is we have had increased revenue coming in over the last few years. We’ve grown the county to meet that, and now we’re at a point where it’s not a crisis, but the high water mark is receding and we need to find in an orderly fashion how to recede back out. And we have options, so let’s not get into that crisis mode. I think it’s too early to look at new taxes.”

    Deputy County Administrator/Chief Financial Officer Steven Lynne did agree that council could probably defer any hike in taxes until FY2015 without a damaging impact.

    Throughout the meeting, the council contemplated a number of options.

    One of the most polarizing options on the table was whether to increase property taxes to replace diminishing gross receipts revenue from Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    County staff laid out two options for revenue increases.

  • Voters OK bond issue

    Los Alamos voters gave the green light for the Los Alamos Public School System to spend another $20 million in general obligation bonds, according to the county clerk’s office.

    The unofficial ballot count shows residents approved the measure 4,283 to 1,784.

    The bond funds will allow continued construction and renovation to go on at the Los Alamos Middle School as well as allow planned renovations and construction take place at Aspen Elementary over the next five years. Other priorities will be design plans for new music and choral facilities at Los Alamos High School, completing the Los Alamos Middle School courtyard, as well as design plans for the new middle school gym.

    Earlier this month, 13,826 ballots were mailed to registered voters in the county, but only 6,186 were returned to the clerk’s office by the deadline of 7 p.m. Tuesday. Of the 6,186 ballots, 6,067 were validated as of Tuesday night.

    A number of residents braving the cold to shop at Smith’s Tuesday took time out to voice their opinions about the bond vote.

    “I voted ‘yes,’ ” resident John Roberts said. “I voted ‘yes’ because it is going to be spent on school facilities.”

  • Udall makes his mark on Washington

    SANTA FE – What happened to the big filibuster reform New Mexico’s U.S. Sen. Tom Udall was going to introduce on the first day of this session of Congress?
    We were told that the motion had to be acted on during the first day of a congressional session when changes to a chamber’s operating rules are in order and can be changed by majority vote rather than the 60 percent vote so often required these days.
    The answer is that Udall got his rule change introduced with 14 cosponsors, including New Mexico’s new senator, Martin Heinrich. The rules change awaited action for three weeks because the legislative day never changed.
    How could that be? Congress and many state legislatures have rules requiring a waiting period between certain actions on bills. But sometimes they want to rush a bill through so they save some legislative days early in a session.
    Legislative days in New Mexico begin and end at noon – theoretically. In actuality, they begin and end when the speaker of the House or majority floor leader of the Senate deems it convenient for moving bills along. It is called “rolling the clock.”
    The majority leader of the chamber will rise and say, “It now being 11:59 of the 1st legislative day, I move we adjourn until 12:01 of the 2nd legislative day.

  • Be There 01-30-13

    Thursday

    In Search of Dominguez and Escalante. Come to PEEC to hear photographers/authors Siegfried Halus and Greg MacGregor speak about their book, which follows the 1776 expedition of Francisco Atanasio Dominguez and Silvestre Velez de Escalante. 7 p.m. Free, with books available for purchase. No registration required. Visit PajaritoEEC.org, call 662-0460 or email Programs@PajaritoEEC.org for more information.

    The deadline for receiving proposals for plays to be performed in the 2013-14 Los Alamos Little Theatre season is Jan. 31. Look for the information sheet on the resources page at lalt.org for instructions.

    The LAHS NJROTC will host brisket night from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Posse Lodge. A $10 donation includes barbecue pork, potato salad, baked beans, corn, a cookie and drink. Proceeds go toward competition travel.
    Sunday

    The Los Alamos Sheriff’s Posse Lodge will hold a pancake breakfast from 7-11 a.m. at the Posse Lodge, 650 North Mesa Road. The menu includes plain, blueberry, banana, chocolate chip, special variety of the month pancakes and sausage, bacon, eggs, juice and coffee. The cost is $7 for adults and $4 for children ages 10 and younger.
    Feb. 4

  • FAFSA Fast Five Grant Workshop

    A representative from the New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation will be at Los Alamos High School to help students and parents complete the Financial Aid Application at the FAFSA Fast Five Grant Workship, from 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, in the Mac Lab.
    By attending a FAFSA Workshop and completing the FAFSA, students could win a $500 grant to help them with their college expenses. To reserve a space in the Mac Lab, contact Connie Goettee at 663-2595 or email c.goettee@laschools.net.
    Parents and students will need to bring several important documents to complete the FAFSA, including a 2012 Federal Income Tax Return, W-2 forms, birthdate, Social Security Number, any 2012 business and investment mortgage information, business farm records, stock, bond and other investment records, and current bank statements.
    To be eligible for the FAFSA Fast Five Grant, you need to be a U.S. citizen, a New Mexico high school senior and resident, attend a FAFSA Fast Five Grant Workshop and submit your FAFSA application during the event and attend a U.S. college or university the Fall of 2013.
    Student participants will be required to complete an online application and survey on NMknowledge4college.org website.
    The deadline to submit a 2013-2014 FAFSA application and complete the online application and survey is April 1.