Council Action Taken Jan. 24, 2023

Los Alamos Daily Post

The Community Development Advisory Board (CDAB) sunsetted, but it may rise up again – in a different form.

Los Alamos County Council voted 6-1 Tuesday night to direct the County Manager to develop and return Feb. 7 to council with a draft charter for a task force focusing on Chapter 18 of the Los Alamos County Code, which addresses nuisances. Council Chair Denise Derkacs cast the opposing vote.

Additionally, council agreed to discuss later other proposed boards recommended by the Los Alamos Resiliency Energy and Sustainability Task Force, the Racial Equity and Inclusivity Task Force and the Animal Shelter Ad-Hoc Committee.

Finally, council agreed to the County’s recommendations to update the boards and commissions application and interview questions along with their handbook and orientation. Council had voted at a previous meeting to allow substitute/temporary members, with council approval, on boards and commissions.

Council discussed this motion at length, and it went through revisions. Councilor Randall Ryti first motioned that the Racial Equity and Inclusivity Task Force be prioritized as a work group and that CDAB be reinstated as a task force for 12 months. He further motioned that staff evaluate if there were any alternatives for their involvement in work groups.

However, Ryti accepted several friendly amendments to his motion after Councilor Suzie Havemann pushed for more information about a CDAB task force. She wondered what its scope of work would be, how many members it would have, when would it start and end. Vice Chair Theresa Cull agreed with Havemann, saying more discussion was needed.

Earlier in the discussion, Derkacs said she opposed resurrecting CDAB. She pointed out that she had already requested that the Community Development Department do a self-assessment on the code and its enforcement after one year and that the County Manager provide to council a quarterly report on the numbers and types of courtesy letters and notices of violation. Derkacs said this would provide a management oversight tool for staff and allow the council to keep an eye on enforcement and, based on the data, later determine if a task force was needed.

Broadband was another major topic of discussion. Council unanimously approved to adopt the policy position that high quality reliable telecommunications including broadband is an essential service and the Council directed the Manager on the following items:

  • Develop and maintain knowledge about telecommunication services in the County and report to the Council annually on the status of those services. Specifically explain how the County will reliably contact the public in an emergency.
  • Pursue a procurement option for a community broadband network. In that pursuit, note that the Council values the following characteristics listed in order of importance: The option is likely to actually be implemented; the network should permit open access; the County should retain ownership or an option to obtain ownership of the basic infrastructure; the network should provide the option of fiber to the premise of any resident who subscribes; and the network should be built promptly.

In other business, council:

  • Presented a proclamation to designate Jan. 28 as the 25th Anniversary of the Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization.
  • Unanimously approved the FY2022 annual comprehensive financial report with the auditor’s opinions. The County received an unmodified opinion, which is the highest rating to receive. The audit report showed no new findings and all previous findings were resolved.
  • Unanimously approved an amendment to the service agreement between the County and Dekker, Parich, Sabatini for an additional $25,500 to complete work on Chapter 16 of the County Code.
    Unanimously approved the 2023 federal priorities for Los Alamos. These include: legislative support for appropriations to fund and support LANL missions, support for passing a new land transfer law for additional land conveyance to the county and federal agency funding for certain projects such as the Jemez Fire Protection Project, renovation of the Women’s Army Corps building, construction and equipment for a food compost facility, broadband infrastructure, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, DP Road commercial development and regional transit and transportation.
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