Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess participates in the Lunch with a Leader program, which was held virtually April 21. Screenshot/LAPD
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
It may seem like Los Alamos County operations are pretty bare bones right now, but local government is working hard to ensure the public continues to receive the services it needs, County Manager Harry Burgess told Lunch with a Leader participants April 21.
The presentation took place virtually; organizers hosted a webinar on Zoom.
In response to the pandemic and the Governor’s stay-at-home public health order, Burgess told participants that County operations have been cut with many employees working remotely; however, Los Alamos Police Department, Fire Department, Department of Public Utilities, the Eco Station, Parks and Recreation and other personnel are continuing to serve the community.
“We do have quite a contingent of individuals that are still coming to work,” he said.
The County’s doors are not completely closed, Burgess added.
As far as how COVID-19 will impact the County’s finances, Burgess told attendees that the County’s budget remains strong.
He explained that 72 percent of the County’s revenue is generated by gross receipt tax (GRT); the next biggest chunk comes from property taxes, which contributes 10 percent.
Since Los Alamos National Laboratory, the largest contributor of the County’s GRT is still operating, “We don’t anticipate a significant reduction in our overall tax revenue,” Burgess said.
Plus, the County has a good amount of money socked away. Burgess said the County has 20 percent more in its reserves that what the state requires.
“We do have a very healthy budget that allows us to continue to provide a high amount of services to our community,” he said.
Burgess added that in the budget that County Council is discussing for FY2021, no services are being reduced. Additionally, expenses are budgeted to only increase .6 percent.
Los Alamos League of Women Voters hosts Lunch with a Leader monthly. Normally, programs begin at 11:45 a.m. the third Tuesday of the month in the upstairs meeting room at Mesa Public Library, with a catered lunch. For more information, visit https://my.lwv.org/new-mexico/los-alamos