Tourism Plan Adopted.
Los Alamos is the Gateway to Three National Parks – the Manhattan Project National Historical Park (MPNHP), Valles Caldera National Preserve and Bandelier National Monument – and this is an extraordinary tourism opportunity that is unique to our community. To support this priority goal, the County adopted a Tourism Plan (“the Plan”) in February. The Plan provides direction to the County and its partners on decisions relating to tourism, community investment, cultural opportunities and physical development. It links Economic Development initiatives and goals that consider all tourism assets, marketing efforts and impacts. Having this kind of Plan is essential, because growth in tourism attractions continues to increase. In 2018, attraction revenue is up 7% and Lodgers’ Tax revenues increased 6%. A Tourism Task Force made up of 11 community and staff members meets monthly to implement the adopted Plan. This year, their initial focus was on the move of the Los Alamos Visitor Center. The center will move to the Community Building in 2019, in space formerly occupied by the Cooperative Extension office. Other Plan elements – as well as a complimentary Wayfinding Plan that was completed this summer - are awaiting funding and could be considered in the FY20 budget. The highest priority for funding within the Wayfinding Plan is the replacement or addition of signage to help visitors find attractions and parking.
Manhattan Project National Historical Park Enjoys an Increase in Tourism Visits
The MPNHP was a popular spot for tourists visiting Los Alamos in 2018 and the County continues to find ways to enhance that experience. An interactive plan for the historic district - including Historic Fuller Lodge and the nearby History Museum Campus – was completed in November, thanks to a $10,000 grant awarded to the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation (LACDC), the Los Alamos Historical Society and the County. This new plan provides 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. The plan now moves to the Historic District Preservation Advisory Board to be implemented. They will pursue breaking the plan into actions items that can be funded with additional grant monies, with a focus on enhancing the visitor’s experience on the walking tour.
Another exciting development in 2018 was to offer bus tours “behind the fence” at LANL for the first time. Tours took place during ScienceFest in July and slots were filled in less than 20 minutes after registration became available. Approximately 100 people took the tour and gave a positive review about the experience. The goal is to expand the tours in 2019, offering them the weekend before Trinity Site tours in southern NM in April and October, as well as making them available again during ScienceFest.
In addition, restoration work on the LANL sites continued to protect historic structures; National Park Service staff completed work on the historic Pond Cabin and restoration of windows on the Slotin building got underway.
ScienceFest Sees Surge in Vendor Participation.
Thirty programs were offered at our annual signature event, and participation by vendors nearly doubled, from 40 vendors in 2017 to 70 vendors in 2018. MainStreet organized this event, which spanned several days in July and featured a variety of interactive, fun exhibits or speakers that attracted nearly 13,000 people, many of them visitors to Los Alamos. The main event on Saturday, July 14 was renamed “Discovery Day” in line with the County’s adopted brand. The Associated Press picked up an article about the “behind the fence” park tours with a brief highlight of ScienceFest and it was distributed nationally in publications such as the New York Time, San Francisco Chronicle, ABC News and US News & World Report. For the first year, Del Norte Credit Union sponsored a planning event called IMPACT training, during which exhibitors learned new ways to communicate their science to the general public to increase their impression upon Discovery Day attendees. Science of Fitness was added to the Saturday event, with a full day line-up of instructors demonstrating a variety of fitness opportunities showcasing their connection to science.
Discoveries Action Team Takes Off
Community members, organizations and businesses began meeting in April with the County’s branding consultant, Once a Day Marketing, and the Place Making and Place Marketing Subgroups have developed several concepts. Members are “champions” for the brand which incorporates the mindset that Los Alamos is a place that cultivates curiosity and creates “aha” moments and is represented by the brand line “where discoveries are made.” Team members share a desire to improve Los Alamos amenities and offerings, and communicate these benefits to future residents, businesses and visitors. Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month. Discoveries Action Team goals include:
* Enhance the Los Alamos “Discoveries” experience
* Promote what makes Los Alamos unique
* Create a network of community ambassadors
* Market together with a unified voice and shared message
Team members helped support a large “Bubble Zone” at Sciencefest, as well as joining a fun “world-record” event at Chamberfest. In addition, the LACDC was able to secure a grant to fund the creation of a Brand Ambassador program, which is an item in the Brand Action Plan approved by the Council in 2017. Work on the program will get underway in 2019 and provide customer experience training and tools to those businesses and individuals interested in supporting and promoting the brand.
Priority Area: Promote vitality in our neighborhoods and downtown areas and eliminate blight in Los Alamos & White Rock as part of an overall property maintenance and beautification effort.
New Advisory Board Appointed
A new Community Development Advisory Board (CDAB) was created in August, to work with Community Development Staff on review of code enforcement provisions in the County Code. These volunteers also review monthly cases in their board meetings. In October, the CDAB members did a “ride along” with CDD officials to see what the officers are looking for when surveying private properties. The board makes recommendations to Council regarding the development, implementation and enforcement of County property maintenance codes.
Addressing Commercial and Residential blight
Code Enforcement Officers have successfully addressed dilapidated exterior or structural issues, such as structural unsoundness and dangerous building and site public safety conditions, roof disrepair, abandoned vehicles, debris, and general property conditions including exterior protective covering, broken windows or overgrown weeds as well as repair issues involving Motel 6 on Trinity Drive, the 9th Street Apartments, the Hilltop House Hotel at the eastern entrance to Los Alamos, the Black Hole on Arkansas Avenue, and properties along Longview Avenue in White Rock. Working with the property owner or contractor, CDD staff and the Fire Marshal developed lists of items to be addressed and time lines to fix the items, and most properties have been brought into voluntary compliance.
Code Compliance officials continue to make refinements to their notification processes and forms. In particular, they worked with the Municipal Judge on a problematic compliance case involving a re-roofing project at a home in White Rock. The property owner finally fixed the roof after several court appearances and citations. This is an exception; most property owners come into voluntary compliance once problems are identified, with only a few cases being sent to Municipal Court.
Filling In with Art and Green Space
Beautiful art and gorgeous green spots for rest or relaxation provide a stunning backdrop for every community
Providing outdoor art that engages not only the community, but provides a colorful, unique backdrop for tourist photos shared out across social media about Los Alamos, helps support goals to build the tourism industry by “spreading the word” about all there is to see and do in Los Alamos County. Although Los Alamos is already home to spectacular views, weaving that experience of art and green space throughout the community brings a new perspective. Beautiful art was added in collaboration with the Art in Public Places (APP) Board, the Library Board, and many community members to help to make Los Alamos County more attractive to residents and tourists. For example, the APP Board worked with an artist to create a beautiful wind sculpture display near the skate park in front of Mesa Public Library, and colorful benches and Lumi-spheres made from recycled propane tanks were added to the courtyard in front of the Community Building. The statue “Spirit Dance” was also relocated from Ashley Pond Park to the newly constructed columbarium at Guaje Pines Cemetery this Fall.
The growth of the plantings around the boardwalk at Ashley Pond Park, and continued attention to the health of the pond, brought residents and visitors to this prized park in the heart of historic downtown. Green spaces such as this help revitalize the area and provide a restful spot for families to enjoy the afternoon playing or eating a picnic dinner.
Encourage the retention of existing businesses and assist in their opportunities for growth
Main Street Expands to White Rock
Staff successfully expanded the MainStreet designation in November to include the White Rock Visitor Center/Bandelier Shuttle service area and surrounding businesses on SR4. This opens up new funding options through the MainStreet program. MainStreet Futures monthly meetings continue to provide an ideal opportunity for the County to meet with key stakeholders in the downtown business area and brief them on upcoming County initiatives or projects, such as the Tourism Plan.
Spreading the Word across New Mexico
Part of the challenge of bringing businesses to historic downtown Los Alamos is touting the amenities, attractions and businesses that can be found here. ED staff and the County Manager’s Office worked with the New Mexico Tourism Department, the New Mexico Hospitality Association and the state and national MainStreet organizations to leverage every opportunity for positive exposure to bring tourists to Los Alamos County. On November 8, the Los Alamos Nature Center received a 2018 New Mexico Hospitality Top HAT Award for Outstanding Attraction. The popular Walk and Shop Guide was updated this year. It makes it easier to direct tourists and visitors to local restaurants and shops.
Significantly improve the quantity and quality of retail business
O’Reilly’s auto parts store constructed a new building on Trinity that opened in January. The Pig + Fig Café in White Rock moved to a larger space on SR4, Petree Garden Center and Floral opened at the eastern edge of Los Alamos, and Fleur de Lys French restaurant and store opened on Trinity. LA Liquor/Knoze Jr. renovated space to open a new convenience store, Samantha D’Anna Photography opened a location, and LA Tan & More renovated their space. Flowers by Gillian renovated space in the Hilltop Shopping Center. Gentlemen’s Barber/Salon opened in White Rock and Bob’s Bodacious BBQ renovated their restaurant. Other businesses offering services for fitness, yoga and Pilates, accounting, bike repairs, computer repair/tech service and a funeral home all opened new businesses. These are just a few of those merchants who chose to open or expand retail or other businesses in the County in 2018, which has resulted in a 9% increase in retail gross receipts tax collection over the last years.
Tapping Into Talent
By working together with other organizations, the County’s ED division continued to coordinate with other events already occurring throughout the year to bring residents and tourists downtown. Series such as “On Tap” with timely topics featured at local businesses, Tuesday night “Music in the Park” promotions, the Summer Concert Series and ScienceFest brought thousands to Ashley Pond Park and the creative district in 2018. The Creative District Advisory Committee – part of the LACDC – joined forces with the County Community Services Department (CSD), MainStreet, and both Visitor Centers to support these marketing efforts for Los Alamos and White Rock.
Quality of Life
Priority Area: Support development of affordable workforce housing
New Housing Steams Ahead
Several key projects happened in 2018, working with developers in collaboration between the CDD, ED division and staff in the County Manager’s office. Highlights included:
A-19 Infrastructure Begins
Blasting for infrastructure build out on this land parcel (approximately 60 acres north of State Road 4 in White Rock) got underway in April. The developer is the A-19-A-1 Acquisition Group and the subdivision is named Mirador. The Acquisition Group plans to construct 161 units plus 61 apartments. This is the first significant housing project for the County in many years, and helps fill demand for more housing – urgently needed with an up-tick in LANL hiring. Housing construction will begin in Spring 2019.
Canyon Walk Apartments Approved for Parcel A-9
A new affordable housing development will be coming to Parcel A-9 on DP Road, just east of the Knights of Columbus Hall. Bethel Development has purchased the property and will build 70 one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Homeowners will be low-income qualified. The project will use tax-credit incentives supplied through the State of New Mexico.
Oppenheimer/Trinity Office Building Renovation
A local developer is working to convert this space into a mixed-use development, including apartments, by adding an additional floor to an existing office building, which will add more rental units.
Priority Area: Maintain and Improve existing outdoor recreation and open space amenities.
This was a new goal and priority added by Council in 2018.
Ready to proceed with four quality of life projects
On December 5, 2017, 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 are “on hold” pending the uncertain tax status of the new Triad contractor for LANL operations and management. A description of each project is below.
Golf Course Improvements
Public Works staff worked with the Parks and Recreation Board to develop a plan for improvements at the local course at a cost not to exceed $4.524 million. Improvements would be implemented over three years to keep a portion of the course open for play. The top priority is to replace the aging and inefficient irrigation system and could also include safety netting and cart paths. Request for Proposal (RFP) for design services was advertised, a selection was made, and contract award is pending County Manager approval.
Ice Rink Improvements
Public Works staff worked with the Parks and Recreation Board on a plan to improve locker rooms, restrooms and the warming hut at the existing outdoor ice skating rink in Los Alamos Canyon. The project was assigned a budget of $1.2 million, which included funding for a shade study to address melting concerns for the ice and extend the season. The shade study was completed earlier in 2018. Items to be implemented from that study would be an additional project cost that has not been funded. The draft RFP for design services is ready, and is pending advertisement.
Splash Pad at Piñon Park in White Rock
Public Works staff, working with the Parks and Recreation Board, developed a design for a Splash Pad in White Rock. The project has a budget of $720,000; however, the Council requested that staff decrease the amount to be spent on the project if at all possible. RFP for design services was advertised, a selection was made, and contract award is pending County Manager approval.
Kiddie Pool (adjacent to the Aquatic Center)
Public Works staff hired a consultant to complete the design of a new $6.5 million Kiddie Pool with easy entry zone, splash features, lazy river and slide. RFP for design services was advertised, and a selection was made, but contract award was postponed by the County Council on June 12, 2018, until a determination about the tax status of Triad is better known. If it were to proceed to construction, the Kiddie Pool would be built using County land on the eastern grassy slope of the existing Aquatic Center with access provided from the main pool.
Implement a comprehensive range of recreational and cultural amenities that enhance the Los Alamos community
Exploring the Addition of a New Bike Flow Trail
As previously mentioned on page 6, this was a major project for the Parks and Recreation division this year. A consultant was hired to explore options ranging from establishing a family friendly bike trail in various canyons around Los Alamos. The consultant and Staff worked with the various stakeholders interested in the path of the trail and pedestrian/equestrian/ biking/hiking interactions. Results were presented to the Council in September. All options had limitations due to terrain, coinciding with equestrian traffic, accessibility or difficulty levels. Council directed further exploration of some of the options for the trail, and that work is in progress.
Expanding the Canyon Rim Trail
Two exciting developments occurred this year with this popular paved trail. First, the County received funding from the State to construct an underpass. It will connect the LA Mesa Trail on the north side of NM502 with the southerly trailhead start of the Canyon Rim Trail, near Entrada Business Park. Design is underway. Second, the Public Works department has obtained many of the easements for Phase 3 of the project. Those required on DOE property have been acquired and work continues to obtain others on private property. The easements are needed in order to extend the trail from Smith’s Marketplace into the downtown area.
Open Space for Everyone
One of the actions to help meet this goal was a more concentrated effort within the Open Space Division to make trails more accessible and easy to navigate for all levels of users. The Open Space Specialist held several work parties and volunteers joined in to clean up several trails, including tire removal in White Rock Canyon. New trailhead signs and kiosks, as well as trail markers, were installed on several popular trails in Los Alamos this year to provide better navigation for those who may be unfamiliar with the trail system and its interconnectivity. Trail network guide maps were also updated.
Support Los Alamos Public Schools’ goal of ranking among the top public schools in the nation
Renovation of Duane Smith Auditorium
The Council joined Los Alamos Public School (LAPS) officials to celebrate the ribbon-cutting for the auditorium this year. The County contributed $1.2 million toward the project, which included renovations for a larger lobby, improved and expanded restrooms, and a renovated entrance into the main space. The auditorium is a community asset. It serves as the community’s performing arts center for a wide variety of programming.
Housing project for land at the Middle School
In November, the School Board endorsed a request to join the County in seeking State capital project funding during the next legislative session that could fund infrastructure for this School-owned land. Approximately 29 acres could be used for low-income housing, which would address an urgent need for housing for school teachers or others employed by the School District. The project is in the early conceptual stage.
Support for Public Health
Staff in the Social Services Division continues to pursue reinstatement of the local Public Health Office after the State drastically reduced operating hours last year. The County pays for leased space for the Public Health office as required by State statute. The reduced hours now require citizens to travel to Española for most services. An RFP for office space for the Public Health Office will be released by the end of this year and should be awarded Spring 2019.
School Prevention Specialist
Recognizing the need for this important, interactive position, the County continues to fund a School Prevention Specialist and other outreach, studies and training opportunities. Staff worked with the Community Health Council and LAPS in 2018 to implement actions outlined in a Strategic Prevention Plan. The Plan addresses key areas of need, such as reducing teen substance abuse, addressing high-risk student populations and increasing student resiliency.
Public Safety Partners
Like the School Prevention Specialist position, School Resource Officers (SROs) are an important partnership between the Los Alamos Police Department (LAPD) and LAPS. SROs are assigned to the elementary schools, middle school and high school, as well as a Juvenile Officer. The SROs work closely with LAPS to provide guidance, training, and security to enhance the school’s safe environment. The SROs are responsible for the Explorer program, which brings together students ages 14 years and up to learn about law enforcement. Explorers participate in crime prevention and community events such as the Ident-A-Kid program and security assessments for home and business.
Practicing Safety Everywhere
Other community outreach programs offered throughout the year by LAPD and Los Alamos Fire Department (LAFD) staff focus on young children in the elementary schools and stress similar safety themes for the home or environment, such as fire prevention or “stranger danger,” offered at age-appropriate levels. LAFD continues to stress such messages as “don’t text and drive, stay alive” through public safety announcements that are meaningful to youth and adults. Public service announcements air prior to movies at the Reel Deal Theater.
Thinking Outside the Box
The County supports LAPS with a variety of programming as part of its contract with staff at the PEEC and through the County-owned Nature Center. For example, the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) contracted with PEEC to host a Water Festival for all LAPS fourth-grade classes in April. The Festival covered a variety of water conservation and water-use themes designed especially for elementary-school aged children, provided in a fun, interactive setting. In addition, PEEC staff work with the County’s Environmental Services division and DPU’s Energy Conservation staff on joint public outreach and education programs, such as the Earth Day Festival and Bear Festival. Other programs were facilitated at the Nature Center under the direction of CSD staff, including Recreation, Parks, and the Library, who hosted fun Family Nights featuring campfire stories, roasting marshmallows and other interactive games or crafts for children. It was part of the “100 days of Summer” theme of “Go play, LA” being sponsored by CSD.
Partner with Los Alamos Public Schools and the University of New Mexico - Los Alamos, and support, as appropriate, the delivery of their educational services to community standards
Los Alamos Internships
Public Works employed a summer intern, Ben Narushof, a junior civil engineering student at the University of New Mexico pursuing a B.S. in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in transportation. In summer of 2018 Ben worked on a bike trail connection project. This was Ben’s second summer working with the County.
Since 2012 the DPU has sponsored an engineer internship program that has proven to be a win-win for both the students and the County. Three college engineering interns were employed this past summer through the DPU’s engineering intern program. Beginning in June and continuing through August, the program is designed to provide hands on engineering experience and encourage students to pursue careers in the utilities field. Tyler Mobraten came to DPU from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. He was assigned a special project in the Power Production division to research how the DPU should deploy electric vehicle charging stations throughout the community. Mobraten presented his findings on recommended models, pricing, and locations to the Board of Public Utilities. Lucas Montoya with New Mexico State University was tasked to assist Deputy Utilities Manager James Alarid in the field on various water, and natural gas capital projects. Montoya completed a thorough field inspection and records search for 26 existing wastewater lift stations. The final product was a new electronic record file and condition assessment for each lift station. Preston Torres with the University of New Mexico worked closely with DPU’s electrical engineer Stephen Marez to design electric distribution grid improvements. Preston reviewed engineering plans, prepared engineering drawings, performed meter evaluations, inspected construction and coordinated work with line crews.
Enhance environmental quality and sustainability, balancing costs and benefits, including County services and utilities
Environmental Services Stats: Yard Trimming Roll Cart Program
When comparing tonnage from 2017 bulk/brush collection to current program:
* 2017 total was 223.75 tons quarterly collection.
* Jan-June 2018 was 135.67 tons quarterly collection
* July 1 – Nov. 14, 2018 was 388.59 tons bi-weekly curbside collection with new Yard Trimming Roll Cart Program in place.
Staff continues assessing annual usage data and reviewing with department in all areas, including sustainable energy, water usage, recycling, fuel usage and other project internally. Updates are reported annually and provided to Council and public in monthly County Manager reports.
New Yard Trimmings Roll Cart Program Launches
Environmental Services distributed brown roll carts in the Spring, and collection began July 1. Participation in the program is optional at no extra fee, however, public outreach efforts were highly successful and 3,909 roll carts have been placed at residential homes. Diverting yard waste from the landfill has significant impacts on the amount of material that must be hauled to the landfill, which has cost impacts. It is also an eco-friendly solution because the yard waste can be made into mulch for landscaping materials. When comparing tonnage for calendar year 2017 from the quarterly brush collection program to the current program, Environmental Services reported that they have collected twice as much material than from the previous program in the first half of the year alone.
The County employee “Green Team” drafted a policy for environmentally preferred purchases this summer. The Green Team promoted responsible purchasing practices and other eco-friendly initiatives at the Customer Service Week Event in October.
Maintain and improve transportation and mobility
New Underpass to Connect Canyon Rim Trail
Public Works received a 2017 New Mexico Department of Transportation grant for $2 million for engineering design and construction of a trail underpass at NM502 near the Entrada Business Park. Design work is wrapping up this year. The underpass will connect the businesses at Entrada and those using the La Mesa Trail on the north side of NM502 to the Canyon Rim Trail on the south side.
Urban Trail Corridor Ahead
As mentioned above, the County is working on obtaining easements to extend the Canyon Rim Trail west of Smith’s Marketplace to 20th Street, which will be the next set of trail improvements. This next phase will take trail users across Trinity Drive to downtown businesses on Central Avenue and beyond to the Nature Center, which would then connect several major trails that extend off Acid Canyon and further north. Public Works has applied for two grants for this high-priority Urban Trail Corridor which will provide residents and visitors a pleasant, safe pathway to enter the downtown area.
Bike Flow Trail
The trail, previously mentioned, supports goals for multi-modal transportation enhancements. Public Works is researching grants to support building this trail.
Additional metal hangars were constructed this summer on the eastern edge of airport property. The FAA funded the airport fence replacement project along NM502 and it was completed in December. The new, black chain link fence enhances the view of the airport from NM502 at the entrance to Los Alamos, and provides important security upgrades required by the FAA to control access to the runway.
Transportation & Parking: Part of Wayfinding
As outlined previously, the new Wayfinding Plan will benefit transportation and mobility goals. It will assist in managing the growth of tourism, specifically in directing visitors to parking, places of interest, and to local businesses.
Priority Area: Continue implementation of the Comprehensive Plan with an emphasis on neighborhoods
Planning staff are working on several high-priority changes to the Development Code as identified through the Comprehensive Plan update. A sign code update was drafted and should go to Council mid-2019. CDD staff are continuing to work on County development code clean up, such as sections related to Addressing Requirements. Parcel A-16 on DP Road. was transferred to the County in 2018 and it is expected the County will rezone multiple parcels, while performing other infrastructure improvements needed on DP Road. These rezoning changes will help with development of land on DP Road for light industrial and manufacturing uses. Master planning for this area, involving stakeholders and businesses along the main road, will get underway in 2019 to assist in mapping out new development areas and addressing access/parking areas for existing businesses. These efforts should occur alongside the NM502 and Bethel projects. Infrastructure updates include extending utility lines in this area to serve existing and new businesses.
CDD planning staff are also working on a Food Truck policy with members of the Place Marketing Discoveries Action Team, an idea brought forward to CDD in Sept. 2018. The policy would allow parking of food trucks at the RV Park in White Rock, and, could clearly identify areas in White Rock and Los Alamos where such activity is permitted.
Maintain and improve existing quality essential services and supporting infrastructure, including PRISM/MUNIS and permitting
Better Software, Better Processes
The County completed Phase One of a large project to replace its antiquated financial management software – an undertaking that first began two years ago. Known as MUNIS, the upgrade was one of the largest software replacement projects that the County ever pursued. Significant staff time was spent in the first six months of 2018 to test data being brought into MUNIS. Hundreds of employees across a variety of divisions were involved in testing, training and providing feedback to the consultant, with several limited-term employees assisting in the process. MUNIS upgrades financial management processing, streamlines integrated human resources job applications, and improves utilities billing.
User testing and County-wide training took place in May and June and on-line courses continue to be used to train new hires in MUNIS. The next phases of MUNIS will allow citizens more insight into financial reports on-line, upgrade vendor forms and tools to provide a better interface, and establish better purchasing and work order system flow. Phase One has already resulted in enhanced communication among departments, more robust work flows with better tracking tools, and increased efficiencies. Many processes are now electronically moving through MUNIS, resulting in less paperwork, which results in less time spent in the signature/approval process, and delays transporting physical forms between County buildings. Less time is now needed for processing invoices, credit cards, completing time sheets and processing payroll.
MUNIS complements the EnerGov system outlined in the permitting division on page 32. The same manufacturer supports both pieces of software, allowing for the greatest amount of flexibility for data exchange and status tracking. This was an important consideration in supplier selection because of the emphasis on improvements to be made within CDD, and desire to have a cohesive, comprehensive and reliable software system.
Create a communication process that provides measurable improvement in citizen trust in government
Enhancing the Website
A revised website was launched in March 2017 and the PIO continues to work with the Webmaster and coordinators to update relevant sections. A new Boards and Commissions module was installed Summer 2018, making it easier to apply and track applications online. The MUNIS launch in July 2018 replaced antiquated HR job application online with improved online forms, enabling the ability to save a user profile to apply more easily for jobs, and better displaying employment openings.
Improve transparency in policy setting and implementation
The next phase of the new MUNIS software system, described earlier, supports government transparency goals. The system will provide customers greater access to County financial information and reports online with fewer delays for data processing. Powered by Socrata, MUNIS will also offer a citizen portal that enables residents the option to create a personal profile that they can customize for routine payments for utilities, the ability to file and view work order status for requested repairs or services, or to be able to review account information online.
The Council held 35 Council meetings in 2018 – an excellent venue for citizens to give the County feedback about policies, processes and projects; public comment is accepted at the beginning and end of meetings, as well as after business items when the Council is expected to take action. Other options for public engagement include:
Radio Show - A Councilor visits with talk show hosts on KRSN radio the morning after Council meetings in a special “council meeting recap”.
Visits with a Councilor - Councilors are often asked to meet with local Scout troops on citizenship badge requirements. They discuss a current local issue with the kids. Civic organizations are also welcome to be the color guard to present the flags at Council meetings.
Booths - Councilors, the Clerk’s Office, Environmental Services and CSD staff, as well as several of the Boards and Commission members host Farmers Market booths on various Thursday mornings throughout the summer. The booths are an informal way for staff and others to visit with residents about concerns, survey them about changes in policies or processes, or collect feedback about improved or expanded services. The County also hosted a booth at the County Fair in August featuring studies being implemented, such as the Tourism Plan, along with maps and drawings of other Capital Improvement Projects in design, such as Phase 3 of the Canyon Rim Trail and its associated underpass project.
Strengthen coordination and cooperation between County government, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and regional and national partners
Building Stronger Economies Together (SET)
The County expanded its work with the SET program, now in its second year of partnering under the Mid-Central Rural Corridor, which includes Los Alamos, Sandoval and Bernalillo Counties. This USDA Rural Development Assistance program provides assistance in community and economic development planning. Working with other SET members, the Economic Development Administrator completed a Comprehensive Plan that was submitted to USDA this summer. The Plan prioritizes projects that could benefit all of the entities involved if it is funded.
Regional Development Corporation (RDC)
Los Alamos County is the primary funding source for REDI, a collaborative effort among Northern New Mexico neighbors to work on areas of interest that can have positive economic impacts with new business development, the creation of new jobs, or job retention. The annual REDI conference was held on December 4, with special guest speaker Thomas Mason of Triad, LLC. REDI partners include the City of Española, City of Santa Fe, Santa Fe County, Town of Taos, Taos County and Rio Arriba County.
Viome Wins Job-Creation Award - At the REDI Conference, the RDC recognized four high-growth job creators in Northern New Mexico, under funding provided in its 20/20 Campaign. The award aims to recognize at least 20 high-growth companies in the region before the year 2020. To date, 42 companies have been honored. To qualify, companies must have a proven and developed product or service, two or more customers with 50% or more of their revenues coming from outside New Mexico, financial profitability and a solid plan for growth. Each candidate goes through a competitive screening process.
Viome received the Job Creation Award this year. Founded in 2016, Viome is a health insight and artificial intelligence company that analyzes microbiome and metabolism to generate personalized dietary and nutritional recommendations. The company utilizes metatranscriptomic sequencing technology developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory coupled with a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence engine. Employing 40 people in Los Alamos and 135 people worldwide, in 2018 the company was listed on CNBC’s annual list of 100 promising start-ups to watch and was a finalist in the prestigious R&D 100 Awards.
Energies Communities Alliance
The Manhattan Project National Historical Park Project Manager traveled to a peer-to-peer exchange to discuss marketing, outreach and branding for the Park this summer. Monthly conference calls between the Project Manager, Councilors, local businesses and citizens, LACDC and representatives from LANL facilitate discussions and promote working together on common issues of interest with counterparts located in Hanford, WA and Oak Ridge, TN.
Regional Coalition of LANL Communities
Despite unified efforts by Regional Coalition members and passage of State legislation by both House and Senate requiring gross receipts tax revenues to remain in place regardless of the taxable status of the firm winning the LANL operations and maintenance contract, the Governor vetoed the bill last session. The Coalition continues to have a strong presence in Northern New Mexico. More formal processes and procedures which are being implemented, along with a new Executive Director hired under contract this summer, should ensure that the organization continues to support regional initiatives. The Coalition is comprised of nine cities, counties, and pueblos surrounding LANL: Los Alamos County, Santa Fe County, City of Santa Fe, Town of Taos, Taos County, Rio Arriba County, the City of Española, Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, and Jemez Pueblo.