Letter To The Editor: Stover Lowered Taxes And Advanced Clean Energy

By ROBERT GIBSON
Former Los Alamos County Councilor

An intense political advertising campaign totally misrepresents elements of Sharon Stover’s public service record. I’d like to set the record straight on two issues that occurred while I was on the County Council with Sharon.

First, Sharon voted for the biggest tax DECREASE in County history, exactly the opposite of what the ads claim. The “biggest increase” referencedwas proposed by the School Board and approved by voters in 2009 to start the long-delayed renovation and remodeling of our public schools. Council played no role in deciding on it.

Council followed this schools increase by decreasing County tax rates by one-third as much to partially neutralize the effect on taxpayers. So, in reality, the only major county tax rate change upon which Sharon voted was the biggest DECREASE in our history.

The ads cite a pro forma final approval of the final property tax package (for County, Schools, UNM-LA, and the state) over which Council has no discretion. In this action, Sharon did her job, as required by law, to pass through the voter-approved Schools increase to our tax bills. 

A similar distortion asserts Sharon Stover opposed clean energy.Baloney. The ads cite Council’s action in Feb, 2010, on a complex proposalto finance individual homeowner energy projects through loans to be repaid through property taxes. Several major issues were identified and Councilor Stover voted with Council to table further consideration until other locales had more experience. Six months later, the Federal Housing Finance Agency effectively killed the whole concept nationally. Sharon and Council were proven right to be cautious.

More importantly, Councilor Stover actively supported collaboration with the Japanese energy consortium NEDO to build a large solar array and energy storage system at the old landfill and to study how those resources would integrate into an electric system, a so-called “smart grid.”Valuable data was produced. The system, largely funded by NEDO,is now owned outright by the County.It produces several percent of our electrical energy – for free! A win-win-win. The same collaboration also produced the “Smart House” energy efficiency demonstration project.  Again, the reality is the opposite of what Sharon’s opponents would like us to believe.

Sharon Stover has an exhaustive record of service to this community. These (and other) deliberate distortions of her record, no matter how often repeated, can’t change that fact.

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