2018 Los Alamos County Highlights

Los Alamos County Municpal Building at 1000 Central Ave. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com 




Los Alamos Daily Post 



2018 proved to be an interesting year for Los Alamos County. Efforts to enhance local tourism expanded, more housing projects were approved and a few members of council concluded their terms.


Here are a few highlights for the local government in 2018. 


Changes for Los Alamos County Council 


There were several changes on the dais for Los Alamos County Council throughout last year. Councilor James Chrobocinski stepped down from his term in May due to medical reasons. (see https://www.ladailypost.com/content/county-councilor-james-chrobocinski-resigns)


As a result, in June Morris Pongratz was selected by council to serve the remainder of the term. (see https://www.ladailypost.com/content/council-appoints-morrie-pongratz-serve-council



During the final regular council meeting for 2018 on Dec. 18, Councilors Morris Pongratz, Rick Reiss and Susan O’Leary as well as Council Vice Chair Christine Chandler concluded their terms and were honored for their work. Chandler is now serving as a state representative for House  District 43. (see https://www.ladailypost.com/content/councilors-chandler-pongratz-and-reiss-say-goodbye


While some councilors left the dais, new faces will appear. New councilors James Robinson, Sara Scott and Randall Ryti were sworn in to their new positions in December. David Izraelevitz was also sworn in to serve another term. (see https://www.ladailypost.com/content/scenes-county-officials-swearing-ceremony)


More housing developments come to Los Alamos 


The state’s Low Income Tax Credit Program identified Los Alamos as a high need area for affordable housing. As a result, one affordable housing project, the Canyon Walk Apartments, was given the green light after being approved for tax credits in September. The 70-unit apartment complex will be located off DP Road and construction is expected to begin in March. (see https://www.ladailypost.com/content/affordable-housing-complex-gets-green-light


In addition to the Canyon Walk Apartments, on Dec. 18 Council approved a land donation to construct a second affordable housing project on DP Road. This project, called The Bluffs, would be a 64-unit apartment complex that would be geared towards senior citizens. (see https://www.ladailypost.com/content/two-affordable-housing-projects-planned-dp-road)


Progress on the Mirador Development located off N.M. 4 in White Rock continued in 2018. Council approved a Public Improvement District (PID) during its Oct. 30 regular meeting. The PID will fund a portion of the administrative and formation costs of the district and pay for a portion of the eligible costs associated with the construction of the public infrastructure that will serve the subdivision. Additionally, a District Board, which will govern the PID, will be formed. (see https://www.ladailypost.com/content/council-approves-pid-mirador-development)


Citizen Involvement 


Throughout the year, many citizens spoke about the need for the local government to listen to its constituents. It appears this message was heard because several new citizen committees and boards were formed during 2018. These included the Community Development Department (CDD) Advisory Board, which addresses code enforcement. The board held its first meeting in August. (see https://www.ladailypost.com/content/council-approves-creation-cdd-advisory-board


Additionally, Council approved in September forming  an Animal Shelter Ad Hoc Advisory Committee to review the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter’s organizational structure as well as its policies and procedures. (see https://www.ladailypost.com/content/animal-shelter-ad-hoc-committee-holds-first-meeting


With the tourism strategic plan newly approved, the County recruited members of the public for a task force to help with implementing the plan starting in April. (See https://www.ladailypost.com/content/county-how-apply-tourism-task-force-applications-due-april-19


The task force’s first recommendation was to relocate the Los Alamos Visitor Center. Council approved in December to move the Visitor Center from Central Park Square to the Community Building on 20th Street near Ashley Pond. (see https://www.ladailypost.com/content/new-year-new-home-los-alamos-visitor-center


In an effort to get more visitors to Los Alamos and shine a brighter spotlight on the County, a Discovery Action Team was formed in April. The team is working to help with the branding efforts for Los Alamos. (see https://www.ladailypost.com/content/county’s-discoveries-action-team-kicks


County Garners Awards 


Work done around the County garnered a lot of recognition in 2018. For instance, the County’s Environmental Services Division received the 2018 New Mexico Recycling and Solid Waste Award. More specifically, its yard trimming collection program garnered Diversion Project of the Year in September. (see https://www.ladailypost.com/content/county-yard-trimming-collection-program-garners-2018-diversion-project-year-award


Plus, the Nature Center earned the 2018 Top HAT Award for Outstanding Attraction from the New Mexico Hospitality Association in November. (see https://www.ladailypost.com/content/los-alamos-nature-center-earns-state-award


The Visitor Center also gained attention when its visitor guide received the bronze at the 2018 Cumbre Awards hosted by the New Mexico Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America in October. (see https://www.ladailypost.com/content/los-alamos-county-wins-2018-bronze-cumbre-award


Capital Projects Completed


In 2018 Los Alamos County began and competed a major project within one of its most popular facilities: Mesa Public Library. The building’s 25 year old HVAC system was upgraded and the majority of the library was closed to the public for several months starting in August. Services and programs were relocated to other buildings in town before the library reopened in December. (see https://www.ladailypost.com/content/mesa-public-library-back-business)