Bernalillo Wal-Mart store manager
Ryan Donnell presents $5,000 check designated for youth programs
to the Town of Bernalillo’s mayor Patricia Chavez. New Wal-Mart
stores present a donation to every community when they move in on
a local economy. The new store will open on March 5.
—DON LEONARD, SANDOVAL COUNTY COMMISSION CHAIRMAN
Success of any business or public agency depends on its employees.
From the top to the bottom of the County’s organizational
chart, dedicated employees work hard on behalf of residents. During
the past year, County employees have improved our infrastructure,
senior centers, health and DWI programs, and fire and emergency
response. They have refined measures to fairly and accurately assess
property values and to closely tie land use and planning to water
resources. County employees are innovative and efficient.
For the future, the County is moving forward on developing broadband
technology to enhance services and provide opportunities for all
County residents. Broadband communications will eliminate the technology
gap between rural and urban communities and improve educational
opportunities and access to health care. We’ve already achieved
long-lasting successes in several areas, especially in developing
applications for education and healthcare.
The County also is committed to desalination as a proven way of
providing critically needed water supplies and easing demand on
the Rio Grande Basin. The County’s first two deep-aquifer
wells in the Rio Puerco Valley have identified a substantial supply
of brackish water that, once purified, will provide the resources
necessary to sustain our current population and future growth.
Much like price tags at the corner gas station, property tax rates
are one bottom-line measurement. In that regard, the County portion
of tax bills has been very stable. While the County must collect
taxes imposed by the State, cities, and other entities—and
then transfer those funds directly to the other taxing authorities—the
Commission has not increased the County’s property tax mil
rate since 1995.
Instead of relying on tax increases to pay for increased and improved
services, much of our success stems from partnerships we’ve
formed with private enterprise and other governmental bodies. For
the future, we will continue to seek new partners and alternative
methods of funding County government.
Another key priority is developing transportation alternatives
and relieving the nightmarish traffic congestion we all confront,
especially in southern Sandoval County.
The Railrunner light rail system that the County helped fund in
2005 has become an attractive alternative for many commuters. To
help residents travel economically and efficiently within the County,
the Sandoval Easy Express, or SEE, was launched in May 2007 with
fixed-route bus service along the Jemez and I-25 corridors. SEE
already has attracted more than ten thousand riders and service
will be extended to the Cuba area in a matter of weeks.
The County is continuing work on the Northwest Loop west of Rio
Rancho and Albuquerque as a key to easing traffic congestion in
the metropolitan area. The road will become a major transportation
and economic development corridor connecting I-40 and I-25 via US
And, to stimulate job growth, the County’s El Zócalo
business development complex just recently opened in Bernalillo
and will help spark business opportunities and job creation, especially
in rural areas.
The County’s tourism and economic development functions moved
into El Zócalo’s historic convent this fall. El Zócalo’s
special event center just recently opened and already has become
a popular meeting location for business groups and individuals.
Extensive restoration of the site’s largest structure, the
two-story Salazar Building, was completed just weeks ago and it,
too, is now available to begin housing businesses that will spur
job growth in 2008 and beyond.
Questions or comments for Commissioner Leonard can be mailed to
him in care of Sandoval County Administrative Offices, PO Box 40,
Bernalillo, NM 87004.
NM credit cardholders may be eligible for refunds
Attorney General Gary King’s office today confirmed a $336
million settlement, pending final federal court approval, in a lawsuit
against several major credit card companies and their member banks.
The antitrust lawsuit is about the price cardholders of Visa, MasterCard,
or Diners Club-branded payment cards were charged to make transactions
in a foreign currency, or with a foreign merchant.
In the matter, In re Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust
Litigation (MDL 1409), the plaintiffs challenged how the prices
were set and disclosed, claiming the defendants conspired to set
and conceal fees and inflated their base exchange rates before applying
A person (or company) is eligible to participate in the settlement
if they used a Visa, MasterCard and/or Diners Club credit, charge
and or debit/ATM card to make a foreign transaction, including purchases
and ATM withdrawals, from February 1, 1996 to November 8, 2006.
Eligible cardholders may elect to submit one of three refund options:
1) Easy Refund of $25
2) Total Estimation Refund
3) Annual Estimation Refund
All claim forms may be submitted online at www.ccfsettlement.com
or by mail at: U.S. District Court Settlement Administrator, PO
Box 290, Philadelphia, PA 19105-0290. Information is also available
from the claims administrator’s toll-free number, 1-800-945-9890.
This information will also be available on the Attorney General’s
office website at http://nmag.gov/.