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Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association update (ES-CA)

—Chris Daul

Jamie Silva-Steele, President and CEO of Sandoval Regional Medical Center, made a presentation about the hospital and distributed information to board members at the last ES-CA meeting. Of concern to the board, and residents of the area, is the mil levy on property which helps to fund both SRMC and RUST Medical Center.

SRMC is part of the University of New Mexico Health System and RUST is part of the Presbyterian Health System. Both hospitals are located in Rio Rancho and currently receive monies equaling a 4.25 mil levy. Ms. Silva Steele noted that RUST receives approximately 55 percent of the proceeds from the tax and SRMC receives approximately 45 percent. This discrepancy was questioned by the board. Ms. Silva-Steele also noted that the current levy is necessary to assist in supporting current operating expenses and that any lowering of the rate or elimination of the tax would have a negative financial impact upon SRMC. She also stated that SRMC was not in favor of any increase in the rates.

ES-CA board members will be meeting again with Ms. Silva-Steele to discuss additional concerns and how the hospital can be more engaged in the Placitas area. We are also working on having SRMC and RUST make a joint presentation to the Placitas Community.

ES-CA has learned that the BLM Resource Management Plan, that concerns future uses of the Buffalo Tract, will not be released for at least a few more months. In addition, we have learned that the BLM will most likely recommend future sand-and-gravel mining be conducted on part of this land. We call on all Placitas residents to contact your Federal representatives and express your concerns to this proposed use. We have seen the negative effects of mining and do not believe that Placitas should host any additional mines.

ES-CA board members met with Jason Montoya of the NM PRC to discuss the pipeline issue. Mr. Montoya is helping us access Federal documents that the pipeline companies are required to file that pertain to their inspection and safety records. ES-CA is continuing to work with the pipeline companies to insure that all necessary precautions are in place to prevent spills.

Concerning the proposed oil and gas drilling in Sandoval County, the County is working on preparing a draft ordinance to regulate such activity. However, the County has failed to enact a moratorium on this activity to insure that no applications are approved prior to the enactment of an ordinance. County Commissioners Dominguez and Scherzinger both support a moratorium, but it takes three members of the Commission to support it. We have called upon Commissioners Madalena and Walters to support a moratorium but, to date, they have not done so. Commissioner Chapman has expressed his opposition to a moratorium.

ES-CA has planned a number of events for this year, including a candidates’ forum on September 10, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., at the Placitas Community/Senior Center, a Membership Appreciation reception on October 16, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., at the Placitas Library, and our Annual Meeting on June 25, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., at Anasazi Fields Winery.

Concerning the US 550 Corridor Project, Bernalillo Mayor Jack Torres, who is very involved in working with the NM DOT on this project, advised us that the construction on the bridge over the Rio Grande will not begin for some time. DOT is planning to put the project out to bid in April of 2017, so work may not begin until 2018. DOT is still working to secure funding for the remainder of the project, which will include widening of 550 from Route 313 to Route 528. DOT will not begin work on the widening project until all funding is secured.

The next ES-CA Board Meeting is scheduled for May 2, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the Placitas Fire Station. All are welcome to attend.

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