A recent report on New Mexico municipalities makes it quite unclear whether Los Alamos County is expensive or frugal but very clear that its employees are very efficient.
The County budget is almost as large per resident as that of Santa Fe. But before you say “Aha!”, consider that our County includes electric and natural gas services, but Santa Fe does neither.
On the other hand, Las Cruces does provide natural gas service with a much lower budget per resident. On the third hand, Farmington does provide electricity but with a 30 percent higher total budget per resident. (Albuquerque’s much smaller budget doesn’t even include water, garbage and sewage as well as having more opportunity for savings with scale.)
Where LA County really shines is in services provided with a minimal number of FTEs per resident: less than a quarter the rate for Santa Fe (and Farmington) and two-thirds that of Rio Rancho, the lowest listed in the report.
I urge voters to remember this, especially when feeling concerned about our “large” County government and “high” property taxes.