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Los Alamos County 2019 Annual Report

Welcome...

...TO THE 2019 ANNUAL REPORT!

2019 has been a year that has brought many positive changes and exciting new paths forward for our community. One of the biggest highlights was an advancement in the number and types of housing units that are moving ahead: Mirador Subdivision initiated its first phase of homes in White Rock, apartments known as “The Hill” south of Trinity took design plans to the Planning & Zoning Commission, the Black Hole property was sold to a private housing developer, the proposed Canyon Walk Apartments closed on their property acquisition and a new Seniors housing development was approved nearby on DP Rd. Most of these projects will be under construction in 2020, adding urgently needed housing to Los Alamos, which is rapidly growing, thanks to a hiring boom at LANL.

The other big news this year was the approval of a development agreement that will bring a new Marriott hotel to Los Alamos, located at 20th and Trinity. Marriott will build an 86-room hotel as well as a new conference center that can seat up to 300 people for large events. Marriott will manage the new conference center, which has been an urgent need identified in economic development plans for well over a decade.

Historic Statues of Oppenheimer & Groves

Projects related to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park continued to make great strides. The Council funded the first phase of wayfinding signage for tourists, relocated the Los Alamos Visitor Center to space on the northern side of the Community Building downtown, purchased a historical property associated with the Manhattan Project, and work got underway on implementing actions in the Fuller Lodge Interpretative Plan.

In addition, capital projects for four quality of life initiatives were funded and are presently moving from design to construction: a Kiddie Pool addition to the Aquatic Center, a Splash Pad for White Rock, Golf Course irrigation replacement, and improvements at the Ice Rink. Construction is likely to begin occurring late in 2020 and most projects should be open for the community to enjoy by 2021.

Diamond Drive Repaving

Infrastructure projects also took center stage this year – most noticeably with the State Department of Transportation’s NM502 roundabout project; County staff coordinated outreach with commuters and nearby businesses to support the community’s needs and resolve concerns with traffic or access. After a harsh winter, Diamond Drive was in critical need of repaving, and the Public Works Department successfully applied for emergency funds from the State for over $4 million and rapidly completed the restoration of the road in just a few short months.

In closing, I am proud of the projects we are moving forward this year to bring about changes and improvements to Los Alamos County, while continuing to keep our focus on providing our citizens with the best, cost effective services every day. My door is always open to you – please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Harry Burgess

Los Alamos County Manager

2019 Healthiest Communities in the U.S. - #2 Los Alamos County - U.S. News & World Report

Quality of Life

Priority Area: Increase the amount and types of housing options

NEW HOUSING STEAMS AHEAD.

With an increase in hiring at LANL, as well as a sustained need for different kinds of housing to support a growing workforce in a variety of areas, housing in Los Alamos has reached a critical point. It is one of the top priorities for the County. Several key housing projects kicked off – with many more moving from the design stage to shovel-ready projects:

Mirador Subdivision

Mirador Subdivision Emerges in White Rock

A-19 Acquisition Group (affiliated with Raylee Homes) began construction of 161 houses on the land formerly known as DOE Parcel A-19 on the north side of SR4 in White Rock. The Council is expected to accept the infrastructure improvements from the developer in January 2020, and several certificates of occupancy have been issued, allowing new home owners to begin moving in.

Upon completion of the current home build-out, Phase 2 of Mirador will occur. It will be a mixed-use project that is constructed just west of the White Rock Visitor Center and will add 60 multi-family rental units.

Canyon Walk Apartments – Affordable Housing on DP Rd

Just east of the Columbia Club (formerly the Knights of Columbus Hall) on DP Rd, the County donated nearly three acres of land formerly known as DOE Parcel A-9 to Bethel Development for construction of 70 one-, two- and three-bedroom units. This development will serve occupants who are low-income qualified. Canyon Walk Apartments will be constructed during 2020 using tax-credit incentives supplied through the State of New Mexico.

The Bluffs – Affordable Housing for Seniors on DP Rd

In June, the State awarded Bethel Development a second low-income qualified tax incentive project for DOE Parcel A-8-b, located across the street from A-9 on DP Road. The Bluffs will bring 64 units to DP Road designed with Senior living and needs in mind. Construction should get underway in 2020.

The Homes at North Community – New Housing

T2 Development purchased property formerly owned by The Black Hole on Arkansas Ave. Demolition permits were issued in November and the developer plans to build 44 houses on the site in 2020.

Visiting Nurses Property – New Housing

Private property owned by the Visiting Nurses Association was sold this fall and the developer plans to build 100 units in 2020. The property offers wonderful views of Acid Canyon and is located near the Jewish Center on Canyon Rd.

The Hill – New Apartments

The developer will build 144 apartments on this beautiful, canyon-edge site formerly known as DOE Parcel A-13, south of Trinity Drive near Los Alamos Medical Center. Road improvements will be made to Trinity Drive in 2020 to accommodate the additional traffic turning to/from the complex. Site plans were approved this summer and construction should get underway in 2020. This addresses an urgent need for more rental units in Los Alamos.

Left: Oppenheimer/Trinity Office Building; Top: Canyon Walk Apartments; Bottom: Schools' Housing Project

Oppenheimer/Trinity Office Building Renovation

A local developer is finishing a construction project to convert 8 offices into apartments by adding an additional floor to an existing office building at the corner of Oppenheimer and Trinity.

In-fill projects

A project at the base of Quemazon Subdivision, along with construction on private lots in North Community, will add another 15 houses to Los Alamos in 2020.

Schools’ Housing Project – North Mesa

The County received a State legislature capital outlay grant for $475,000 this year to use toward infrastructure that is needed for land owned by the Schools just east of the Middle School. The County continues to have a set-aside in its annual budget for dollars targeted to specifically support Schools’ needs such as this. An option being explored for the North Mesa project involves setting up a community land trust. This model - or a similar property ownership model - could affect lower prices to help meet income-qualified needs that have been voiced by Schools’ staff – because of the high cost of living, the desire is to build housing on this site that will be affordable for workforce related needs, including teachers and other Schools’ staff.

Addressing Current Housing Needs: Studies and Programs

A land use committee was formed in February to address strategic land use and examine a path forward that meets the needs to support businesses and housing, while balancing needs for open space and egress. The committee also explored options for land that might be transferred from the DOE for future housing.

As part of that effort, CDD hired a consultant this summer to conduct a Housing Study. It included a survey of organizations, businesses, real estate professionals, residents and potential residents to examine the appropriate “mix” of housing that is needed for Los Alamos and White Rock to continue to grow successfully. The consultant looked at options for types of housing, price ranges, ownership options and sizes to inform future land development decisions. The study was presented to Council December 3.

In addition, CDD continues to offer low-income qualified homeowners or those seeking to buy a home help through two popular programs:

Home Renewal Program - Services continued with the Los Alamos Housing Partnership (LAHP), Inc for the Home Renewal Program, which entered its fourth year with a budget of approximately $200,000. Low-income homeowners in Los Alamos County are eligible to apply for both financial assistance and a technical assistance program. The goal is to address upgrades that promote energy efficiency, accessibility and other necessary home repairs. Qualified contractors are hired to make the improvements after submitting bids on projects within their field of expertise. Eight projects approved in previous funding cycles (2016, 2017) were completed this year. Construction got underway on four projects approved in 2018. Eight new projects were selected from applications received this summer. They are being reviewed by the loan committee and, if approved, work could get underway in 2020. The next cycle is expected to open in April.

Homebuyer Assistance Program – 2019 was Year Two of this program, under contract with LAHP, and it continues to be heavily used. Prospective homebuyers who are low-income qualified can apply for a low-interest loan for a down payment, without adding to monthly mortgage costs. Loans range from $8,000 to $25,000 and the program has a budget of $150,000. Thirteen home purchases have been supported with this fund since the inception of the program.

2019 Best Counties to Live in America - #1 Los Alamos - Niche.com

Economic Vitality & Financial Sustainability

Priority Area: Enhancing support and opportunities for the local and small business environment

GROWING LOCAL...

Hotel/Conference Center Approved

One of the main accomplishments in 2019 was an agreement with a developer to bring a Marriott hotel and conference center to Los Alamos. The County donated land at 20th/Trinity to the developer, TNJ LLC, who will construct an extended stay hotel with 85 rooms on the property. In return for the land donation, TNJ LLC will also build a conference center that can seat up to 300 people with a beautiful setting overlooking Los Alamos Canyon. TNJ will manage bookings for the conference center, and has agreed to promote small business interests by actively seeking local vendors for its coffee shop/restaurant. The agreement fulfills one of the priorities outlined in the Economic Vitality Strategic Plan, which was adopted by Council this summer, for a hotel/conference center to be located in Los Alamos. As noted in the Plan, having this kind of amenity in town has been a goal for over 20 years and many organizations and businesses have voiced enthusiasm for the project, which should be under construction in 2020. The next step will be for TNJ to take site plans to the Planning and Zoning Commission. Another plus? A traffic light will be installed at 20th/Trinity to allow easy access to/from the site, addressing safety concerns about pedestrians safely crossing Trinity to get to Ashley Pond Park.

Pebble Labs

Pebble Labs Expands

Pebble Labs was the recipient of a State LEDA grant this year with assistance from the County to expand their operations. The Governor and State Secretaries of Economic Development & Agriculture joined the County at Pebble Labs in a press conference to celebrate the award, which was a $4 million grant from the State to expand Pebble Lab’s Bioscience research and development facility at Research Park. Pebble Labs is managing research on food and crop safety, public health and the reduction of the occurrence of vector-borne diseases including the Zika virus. As part of the expansion announcement in July, Pebble Labs said it has reached a breakthrough in substantially reducing disease in farm-raised fish and shrimp throughout the world without the use of antibiotics.

In addition to securing the State grant, the County Manager’s office worked with Council to approved issuance of $60 million in Industrial Revenue Bonds, retaining ownership of a portion of the property with Pebble Labs, who will lease the space back from the County until the bonds are paid.

New Mexico Consortium

When Pebble Labs began outgrowing their incubator space at the NMC’s Biological Laboratory, NMC CEO Steve Buelow decided the best option to keep them in Los Alamos was to sell them the building.

Now, after closing the $11.5 million deal, the NMC is planning on a big move to a new 86,000 square foot building at the Los Alamos Research Park. The new building will house a bioscience laboratory and research greenhouse as well as office facilities, and will be located close the other NMC facility in the same park. The groundbreaking for this new building is slated for April 2020.

The NMC is committed to work and grow new companies and facilitate research at its new space which will bring more high-paying job opportunities to Los Alamos and the surrounding areas.

Left to Right: The Cricket Window; Boese Brothers; El Parasol in White Rock

New Businesses Come to Town

Natural Grocers broke ground on the former Elks Club site this year and expects to open in Spring 2020. Wendy’s announced that they will demolish the former McDonalds building and rebuild. The former Hilltop House is expected to close in a sale to a private developer, who has indicated they will demolish the building and bring an exciting, dynamic new business that will be announced in 2020.

Other businesses, such as the Cricket Window, moved into larger space this Fall as they expanded offerings. The following are just a few stores or services that opened in 2019: Little Sprouts Kitchen, Beanie’s Bike Shop, White Rock Toys & Collectibles, Minnie’s Bakery, Good Dog Training, Beauty Chem and Co Salon, Wellness Within and Boese Bros Brewery. A new Anytime Fitness gym is set to open near the eastern edge of Los Alamos in the TRK building next year, and, El Rigoberto’s Taco Shop opened a second location in White Rock this year.

SUPPORTING LOCAL…

Updating the Downtown Master Plan

At the close of the year, Community Development staff had a discussion with Council (Dec. 17) regarding scope of work, outreach plans and a timeline to update the Downtown Master Plan, a project that has been urgently needed for many years. The scope of work for the Downtown Master plan will include two phases: Phase 1 will include creating a Downtown Master Plan for Los Alamos Town Site and White Rock and Phase 2 will be to draft a new Chapter 16 Development Code. Both phases will culminate in separate public hearings upon completion of the respective deliverables.

Aerial of Downtown Los Alamos, with Historic Fuller Lodge in the Foreground

Visitor Center Gets a new Home Downtown…

One of the top priorities in 2019 was the relocation of the Los Alamos Visitor Center, the first step in the implementation of the new Tourism Plan, which provides direction to the County and its partners on decisions relating to tourism, community investment, cultural opportunities and physical development. The northern section of the Community Building (formerly the Cooperative Extension office) was renovated into a fresh, inviting space for tourists and opened in March. The space is ideal because it is County-owned, located near prime attractions such as Fuller Lodge and Ashley Pond Park, and is next door to the Visitor Center for the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

Purchasing a Piece of History

This summer, the County was approached by the Christian Science Church to ask if the County would be interested in buying their building, the former WAC building that was a dormitory during the days of the Manhattan Project. The County paid $600,000 for the WAC Building and closed on the property on September 12, 2019. Once the Church vacates the property, the County will determine the best plan to move forward with any use or restoration of the property, which can then be included in the historic walking tour of Los Alamos.

Wayfinding: Signage Gets Funded

The Tourism Implementation Task Force, a community/staff group responsible for implementation of the Tourism Plan, continued to meet monthly throughout 2019. They are currently working on implementing plans for better wayfinding in Los Alamos – signs that will assist tourists in navigating to parking for the historic downtown area and attractions. Council funded the first phase of signs in FY20 and a bid package is in development, with a goal to fabricate and install the signs by Spring 2020.

Building a Better Website & Display Space

The Tourism Implementation Task Force recommended moving ahead with a plan to update and improve Visit Los Alamos, the main tourism web page for Los Alamos, and work is underway. They also secured funds to update displays in both the Los Alamos and White Rock Visitor Centers and a bid package is in development.

Enhancing the Fuller Lodge Experience

An interactive plan for the historic district - including Historic Fuller Lodge and the nearby History Museum Campus – was completed in 2018, and offered several recommendations and ways to bring the history of the Manhattan Project to life for tourists strolling in and around these historic structures located in the heart of downtown Los Alamos. This year, the Historic District Preservation Advisory Board began phasing in priority items and seeking additional grant funds to implement that plan. The County partnered with the Historical Society to apply for a National Park Service grant and received $10,000 to complete a historical hotel room upstairs at Fuller Lodge, along with a plan to repurpose the main display in the lobby to serve as orientation to the lodge. The former windows at the south end of the lodge (currently display spaces) will also be uncovered and restored. Work should be done by the end of 2020.

“Behind the Fence” Tours Popular in 2019…

For the second year, the County worked with LANL and DOE to offer bus tours “behind the fence” at LANL showing the public the historic sites of the secret Manhattan Project. Tours expanded from one to three times and 300 people took tours during ScienceFest and the two weekends seasonally that the Trinity Site in southern NM is open (April & October). Slots filled up quickly for each tour; attendees gave the experience a positive review.

Top to Bottom: UbiQD Booth at ScienceFest; Chevel Shephard Performing at the Summer Concert Series; Los Alamos Visitor Center New Location; The Historic WAC Building; Bradbury Science Museum

ScienceFest: Simply SUPER in 2019!

MainStreet organized this event, which spanned four days in July and featured a variety of interactive, fun exhibits and speakers. The signature event, supported primarily through a County contract, has a primary goal of attracting visitors to the community to find out why Los Alamos is the place “where discoveries are made.” ScienceFest continues to grow each year, and 2019 was no exception to that trend: 37 activities were offered – an increase over last year’s program (30 activities). The number of collaborating organizations increased from 35 in 2018 to 43 in 2019. Nearly 21,000 people attended ScienceFest - thanks in large part to a concert by young country-western singer Chevel Shepherd (winner of “The Voice”) on Friday evening – this number was substantially higher than the 13,000 who attended the four-day festival in 2018. This was the first time MainStreet brought in a major musical act as part of its strategy to attract more visitors – a move that appears to have had a positive impact and introduced ScienceFest to many first-time festival-goers. The approximate economic impact of the event was estimated at nearly $208,000, according to MainStreet, with many visitors shopping downtown, eating at local restaurants, taking tours or staying overnight.

2019 - 25 Best Counties to Live in America - #3 Los Alamos - 24/7 Wall Street, USA Today

Quality Governance

Creative District: Tuesdays at the Pond

Priority Area: Protecting, maintaining and improving our open spaces, recreational and cultural amenities.

Capital Projects Get the Green Light

In the Spring, the Council voted to proceed with design and construction of four capital projects: Golf Course Improvements, Ice Rink Improvements, a new Splash Pad for White Rock’s Piñon Park, and a new Kiddie Pool (adjacent to the Aquatic Center) as “quality of life” recreation improvements that the community can enjoy. All four projects were designed in 2018, but had been “on hold” pending the uncertain tax status of the new Triad contractor for LANL operations and management. With that situation resolved during the 2019 State Legislative session, the projects are now fully funded and proceeding to construction. A description of each project is below.

Kiddie Pool

The design of a new $6.5 million Kiddie Pool with easy entry zone, splash features, lazy river and slide is underway. The Kiddie Pool will be built using County land on the eastern grassy slope of the existing Aquatic Center with access provided from the main pool. Construction should begin in 2020 and the pool is expected to open in 2021.

Golf Course Improvements

Planned improvements at the local course focus on replacing the aging and inefficient irrigation system with a budget of $4.524 million. Improvements will be implemented over three years to keep a portion of the course open for play. Construction should begin next year.

Ice Rink Improvements

The outdoor Ice Rink in Los Alamos Canyon will have six new locker rooms as well as a referee changing room. The new locker rooms will be built as an extension to the south of the warming hut. The existing locker room/restrooms building will be converted into more restrooms, and the HVAC system will be upgraded to support the new amenities. The project has a budget of $1.2 million and design is underway. Work is being coordinated around the skate/hockey season and roller derby play in the summer months. Construction should get underway in 2020.

Splash Pad at Piñon Park in White Rock

The project has a budget not to exceed $720,000 and design is underway with a targeted opening date of Fall 2020.

Omega Bridge from the North Edge of Los Alamos Canyon

Support for Trails

The County has over 100 miles of trails enjoyed by residents and visitors, but only has one employee dedicated to their oversight. Therefore, the Council approved a second position for Open Space to assist with trails management. The position was created and approved this Fall. The new hire will help with operating equipment for trails maintenance, organizing volunteers for trail work parties, and other tasks as needed.

Canyon Rim Trail Expansion

The County has State funding to build an underpass under NM502 that will connect the Canyon Rim Trailhead with LA Mesa Trail on the north side. Design is underway and could begin in 2020, pending coordination with the State on the next phase of the NM502 roundabout near the Airport.

Design for the trail’s next phase, to extend the trail from Smith’s Marketplace into the downtown area, made progress this year with additional easement acquisitions secured for private property. It should go to construction next year.

The New Trails Kiosks, Maps and More

The Open Space Specialist held work parties for volunteers several times in the last year to maintain or clean up trails around Los Alamos and White Rock. The Open Space Division has been working with Parks’ staff to update and install new Trail Head kiosks and new markers along trail intersections for better navigation. Trail network guide maps were updated for printing along with the overall trails map showing all trails. The Open Space Specialist led the YMCA YCC trail crew and completed the Los Alamos Canyon Trail connection to Quemazon Trail, extended the Tent Rocks trail and maintained many miles of Los Alamos County trails. N3B became the County’s newest trail adoptee; they adopted the School Canyon Rim trail and have been volunteering monthly to maintain this trail. A section of the Pueblo Canyon Rim trail was renamed to honor Jim Billen’s effort at building and maintaining the trail. Natural Channel Design and Keystone Restoration completed a restoration project in Graduation Canyon. Interpretive signs are being drafted to explain and educate the public of restoration techniques.

New Health Commons Ribbon Cutting

Priority Area: Supporting social services improvements

New Public Health Office Re-opens

Staff in the Social Services Division successfully reinstated the local Public Health Office after the State drastically reduced operating hours in 2017. The County secured and renovated leased space for the Public Health office (required by State statute) and services are jointly provided by Las Clinicas del Norte and the State Department of Health. The new office is called the Health Commons and took a community-wide effort with many hours of planning and coordinating to solicit bids, prepare the contracts and renovate the space which is located across from the high school on Diamond Drive. The Health Commons opened in August and has received very favorable reviews from all age groups; residents are grateful to once again have this free service conveniently located in the townsite.

New Health Council

At the end of 2019, the County took action to create a new advisory Health Council, as required by the State. The intent is to roll the membership of the existing Community Health Council into the new County-led Health Council. This will also improve efficiencies in tracking funding and grants, and give the Council better insight and direction as initiatives for improving social services continues in 2020.

Left to Right: New Health Commons; Providing Public Health Services; Exploring Options for the Tween Center

Gap Analysis to identify Behavioral and Mental Health Access

The Council funded a Gap Analysis in FY20 to evaluate where the County can and should help address critical needs. A request for proposals was issued this summer and a services agreement with Kulik Strategic Advisers (KSA) to perform the study was signed in November. Once the study is completed in 2020, it will guide options on how to improve social services and incentives, with a possible focus on regional collaboration. Having the new Health Council in place will greatly assist in moving forward on this important initiative next year.

Studying locations for a new “Tween” Center

The Council approved $400,000 FY20 budget option for “Investigation and conceptual design for a Tween Center for grades 6 to 8” that would provide a safe place for Middle School aged children to enjoy activities and programming. The County has a Teen Center and Youth Activity Centers, but this option would further provide space for 7th and 8th graders. The bid package is being developed and the results of the Gap Analysis will further inform the study.

2019 America’s 50 Best Cities to Live - #31 Los Alamos - 24/7 Wall Street

Priority Area: Investing in infrastructure

Moving Right Along with Electric Buses

The Public Works department received a grant to purchase two electric buses this summer under a federal transit grant program called Low or No Emission Vehicle Program – 5339(c)

Diamond Drive Re-Paving

The County received funding from the State for $4.475 million, reimbursed to Public Works’ capital projects fund from a State emergency grant for emergency road repairs to Diamond Drive after a harsh winter ruined the asphalt. The project was executed in just a few months thanks to careful oversight from Public Works’ staff. Close coordination with the Contractor, including plans for them to work through the night to avoid traffic congestion, working around commuter peak travel times and planning with the High School to be sure the project work zones moved north of their property before school resumed in August were all highlights of this very successful project.

NM502 Roundabout

Although the roundabout construction is a State-funded project, the County invested significant staff time and effort on behalf of the community to keep Los Alamos represented. Public Works staff coordinated closely with the State DOT on this complex project, attending weekly meetings and providing input or voicing concerns over any portion of the project that might negatively impact motorists or nearby residents. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

SR4/Truck Route Intersection

The County continues to support a project for widening the shoulder of SR4 and completing a redesign of the dangerous T intersection at this problematic location where accidents frequently occur. The project would be accomplished using SEP funds from a State of NM Environment Department settlement. Public Works staff monitor the project and keep in close contact with the State about the urgent need for the project. It will move to design next year and should be constructed the following year.

Left to Right: Fuller Lodge East Lawn; Central Avenue; Manhattan Project & Los Alamos Visitor Centers on 20th Street

Pursuit of an Urban Trail Corridor

The County was notified mid-year that NMDOT had awarded funds for two Urban Trail projects, under the federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program.

The Urban Trail Phase I Project proposes a multiuse path that begins north of Trinity Drive at 20th Street and continues north to Spruce Street. This starting point provides a connection to the Canyon Rim Trail system, a portion of which was constructed in 2017 with the 20th Street Extension Project south of Trinity Dr., with the last remaining segment currently under design. A future traffic signal at the Trinity Drive/20th Street intersection contemplated with the development of 20th Street properties will facilitate trail crossing at Trinity Drive. Phase I will follow 20th Street along the west side, crossing Central Avenue and along existing pathways through the east side Fuller Lodge lawn and 19th Street, then meandering along neighborhood streets to Spruce Street.

The Urban Trail Phase II project proposes a multiuse path that begins at Spruce Street where Phase I concludes. From Spruce Street the proposed trail is an off-street multiuse trail traveling north and then south-west through a forested undeveloped landscape surrounding the Canyon Road tennis courts and eventually linking the Nature Center and Aquatic Center along the north side of Canyon Road. The trail will connect to recreational centers, recreational trails, and bike lanes on Canyon Road that continues to and along Diamond Drive.

The entire Urban Trail alignment is part of the High Priority Corridor outlined in the Bicycle Transportation Plan adopted by Council in 2017. With the upcoming completion of the Canyon Rim Trail, including the underpass beneath NM 502 at Entrada Drive funded through a successful TAP application in 2016, and the pending installation of crossing improvements proposed with NMDOT’s NM 502 Reconstruction Project, these projects will provide a non-vehicular thoroughfare to the downtown business district. Additionally, the project will help connect businesses, tourism, retail, schools, parks, recreation, and residences as envisioned in the Bicycle Transportation Plan. Completion of these projects will also increase the County’s chances to improve from a bronze to a higher level bicycle friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists.

Under the TAP and CMAQ, Phase 1 of the trail is funded for design and construction in FY 2021/22 for $700,000 and Phase 2 is funded in FY 2020/22 for $3,605,000. The County will supply a 14.56% local match required by the grants, totaling approximately $102,000 for Phase 1 and $525,000 for Phase 2.

Priority Area: Planning for appropriate levels of County Services

Upgrades for New Finance/Utility/HR software

The County implemented an upgrade to its MUNIS software this year, which included negotiating and executing a contract with the vender and working against an aggressive timeline for implementation. Testing of the various components of MUNIS occurred in the Fall to prepare for the upgrade. Through weekly team meetings, close coordination with the vendor, trouble-shooting or tracking interface issues and providing feedback, MUNIS was kept on-line for employees and customers with few service interruptions. Outstanding issues that had been encountered during the initial launch were also resolved by working with departments and the vendor.

Leadership and Training

The County’s “Leadership Academy” provides tools and training to current and potential new supervisors. In May and December, the Academy graduated 22 employees. In addition to formal training provided by HR, members of the senior management team help lead classroom discussions on a variety of topics. The day-long sessions provide good opportunities for employees to network with others across department lines and build relationships that continue after the classes end. This Academy has now been delivered to nine classes of County employees.

Left to Right: Los Alamos County Leadership Academy; Staff Plowing Sidewalks; Project Managers Hard at Work

Intranet Redesign for Employees

In July, the Information Management Divison launched a project to re-design the County Employee Portal using a low-cost, low-maintenance method from Microsoft. The site will be hosted in the cloud using Sharepoint. Known as MyPLACE, the re-design will better facilitate collaboration among employees with new, modern features and workflows. Microsoft has teamed up with a forms development tool and analytics reporting tool that integrate with Sharepoint online, offering new benefits and the ability to connect to outside data sources to make comparative analysis or include data from reports. It also offers better security because files can be shared with others outside the organization using coded links and verifications. Migration to the new intranet site began in November.

2019 Best Places to Live in New Mexico - #1 Los Alamos, #2 White Rock - Money Magazine
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Left to Right: Los Alamos County Councilors at the Farmers Market, WinterFest; Strategic Planning Session
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