Friday, July 20, 2012
We attended last night's joint City/County meeting on the status of the stalled Phase II and III annexation. We'll try to summarize the meeting here for our neighborhood homeowners and interested parties.
Reading between the lines, the situation seems to be this: both the City and County feel obligated to complete the annexation, as it resulted from a Court-mandated settlement. The major stumbling block is money - how to pay for the services required.
Presentations were made by the City and County attorneys, the City Police Chief and County Sheriff. Unfortunately, although the City and County Fire and EMS department patiently waited, the meeting was adjourned without their testimony.
Unfortunately, there was NO discussion of finances, just a push to "get it done". Not one word about how much it will cost to bring roads up to grade, plow them in the winter, provide water/sewer, or trash collection; or hire the additional required law enforcement officers (currently, both the City and Sheriff forces are understaffed and have vacancies as it is).
No presentations by anyone from a budget or finance committee? Phase II and II involves almost 10,000 acres and several thousand homeowners, and we don't know how it will be paid for?
A few excerpts from coverage of the meeting in today's Santa Fe New Mexican:
"No formal action was taken at the meeting, but councilors and commissioners told their staffs to keep working on the details of the transition."
"...asked staff to come up with new estimates on how much each jurisdiction will give and take to comply with previous agreements about public safety, roads and utilities."
And, from The Albuquerque Journal North:
"How are we going to pay for these things? That’s really where we’re at,” said City Councilor Patti Bushee in a joint meeting between the Santa Fe City Council and County Commission."
Ultimately, the meeting set off alarm bells as it is clear there is no formal plan, budget, or roadmap to successfully completing annexation and providing required services. Several residents asked the governments to halt future annexations.
WE believe it is time for residents of Phase III to come together and form a coalition to look out for our best interests. It is clear neither the City nor the County has any intention of doing so.
Copies of documents circulated to City/County Staff last night available here: