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An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988

Budget analysis shows Sandoval as New Mexico’s most efficient large county

—Sidney Hill, Sandoval County Public Information Officer

When it comes to operating efficiently, Sandoval County surpasses its peers across the State of New Mexico. That became evident when Sandoval County officials analyzed publically available budget data for all New Mexico Class A counties. In addition to Sandoval, New Mexico’s Class A counties are Bernalillo, Dona Ana, Santa Fe, and San Juan Counties.

“We did this analysis as part of our overall data collection in formulating our 2017 fiscal year budget,” said Sandoval County Manager Phil Rios. “Our county commissioners, as they approach the budget process, felt they could benefit from knowing how our current level of spending compares to similar counties. This confirmed our belief that we appear to be the most efficient county in our peer group.”

Based on numbers from Fiscal Year 2016, Sandoval County’s General Fund Budget of just more than $85 million dollars is the lowest of New Mexico’s Class A counties. Sandoval County also ranked lowest in terms of dollars spent per resident, as well as the number of county employees per ten thousand residents. The analysis shows Sandoval County spends $620 dollars per resident on an annual basis, while employing 66 people for every ten thousand county residents.

“Our goal is always to provide the best essential services possible to our citizens at the lowest possible cost, and these numbers show that we have been able to do that. Even as the state as a whole has experienced rough economic times over the past few years, we have been able to maintain service levels,” said District 4 Commissioner Glenn Walters.

The analysis also shows that Sandoval County is the only Class A County that has not taken advantage of a recently passed state law that allows counties to impose new gross receipts taxes on county taxpayers to compensate for funds that counties will lose as the state stops covering revenue local governments lost when the state tax on groceries and certain medicines was repealed.

“Sandoval County wants to stick to its long-standing policy of not imposing additional taxes on our residents,” Commissioner Walters said.

County Manager Rios added, “For at least the past two decades, the only new taxes imposed in the county have been those approved by voters—such as the mill levy that paved the way for our two hospitals. We hope to keep things that way as long as possible.”

Fuelwood permit sales begin

—Donna Nemeth

Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands is now selling fuelwood permits at two locations: the Supervisors Office in Albuquerque, and the Mount Taylor Ranger District office in Grants. Permits can be purchased from 8:00 am. until 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, at either location. Please note that the Mt. Taylor RD is closed from noon to 12:30 for lunch. Permits are not being offered at the Fort Wingate Administrative Site at this time but we are working to provide services at a later date.

The cost for fuelwood permits is ten dollars per cord for down and decked wood, twenty dollars per cord for oak, and ten dollars each for wildlings. Wood can only be gathered in specific locations on the Mt. Taylor Ranger District. A map will be provided with the permit. 

For additional information, call the Supervisor’s Office at 346-3900, or the Mt. Taylor Ranger District at 287-8833 or go to

EPA reduces health risk from Radon in New Mexico

—Joe Hubbard

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded $221,158 dollars to the New Mexico Environment Department. The state will use the funds to protect residents of New Mexico—particularly school-age children—from harmful exposures to radon gas and other indoor air pollutants that may cause cancer.

Environmental protection is public health protection. EPA strives to protect the air we breathe, the water that flows into our communities, and the land where we build our communities.

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