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County pessimistic on state project funding

~Signpost Staff

Sandoval County commissioners approved their annual wish list for the 2017 session of the Legislature, although the prospect is bleak for any money to fund it.

County Manager Phil Rios said he’s not optimistic after the recent special legislative session called to plug shortfalls in the budget for the current fiscal year and the one that ended on June 30. The Community Services staff is waiting for details on cuts of up to 5.5 percent that would affect DWI and senior programs.

How the programs will absorb those cuts remains to be seen, he added.

Commissioners gamely approved the request for capital funds to rehab pavement and bridges on County Road 11, to continue buying right-of-way for Paseo del Volcán to link U.S. Highway 550 with Interstate 40, to expand Internet broadband in the county, to furnish a county voting/training center, and to buy vehicles for the sheriff’s office. The total tab is nearly three million dollars.

“I’m not seeing that there’s going to be much funding for these kinds of projects in the upcoming session,” Rios said.

The sixty-day legislative session begins on January 17.

Commission Chairman Darryl Madalena of Jemez Pueblo, who leaves office at the end of the year under term limits, asked the other commissioners to be alert to the needs of Native American communities in the county during the session. While the county government didn’t lose previously approved capital funds during the special session, money for projects in Indian communities was cut, he said.

“The ten southern governors, as well as All Pueblo Council governors, did not appreciate the fact that those were cut because all the money, millions of dollars, the gaming dollars, go into the general fund, and we never see them again,” he said.

In other action, commissioners tabled a recommendation to approve a new subdivision in Placitas at the request of the county planning staff. The proposed Vistas Sandias would build 11 homes on about 11 acres near the intersection of Camino de las Huertas and Palomino Road.

During an August public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission, neighbors of Vistas Sandia raised concerns about water availability and home heights and setbacks. But they were particularly concerned about the plat map that appeared to show Camino de la Questa del Aire ending in a cul-de-sac instead of continuing as the main access to homes beyond.

Concern remains, however, about the clarity of the plat with the fifty-foot road easement shrinking to twenty feet within what still could be confused for a cul-de-sac. The easement should show as fifty feet for its entire length through the subdivision, Ken Drybread and Ann Little said during the public comment period.

“If the plat was changed, it would prevent further discussion in future years,” Little said. “It will be confusing in ten years from now if someone sees that cul-de-sac and sees that easement being shortened in that area.

 
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