By Amy Byres
BERNALILLO — At the virtual Sandoval County Commission meeting Thursday night, commissioners decided Paseo del Volcan is the county’s No. 1 priority.
Commissioners selected five capital projects to prioritize in the Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan, submitted to the state on Friday. Legislators will decide how much funding to grant to the county in the next legislative session. The ICIP covers the fiscal years of 2022-26.
In a 4-1 vote, with Jay Block, District 2, voting no, the top five projects of the county are:
• Paseo del Volcan widening and extension;
• A permanent animal shelter;
• Body cameras for law enforcement;
• Making voting sites in the county Americans with Disabilities Act compliant; and
• A building addition in a garage shop in Cuba.
Block said he voted against those five was because he believed projects for first responders should have been higher on the list.
“I just feel that the sheriff’s body armor, uniforms and the public safety communications system should be more of a priority, in my opinion, but that’s fine; we will get to that, hopefully, by next year,” he said.
About $1.6 million has been funded for Paseo del Volcan, and about $11 million is still needed with $7 million being requested for 2022.
“I would be remiss to many of my constituents if I did not address what is glaring, and that is this list puts a $7 million request as our No. 1 request, when that is probably moot. There will probably not be those types of dollars available during the January session unless something miraculous occurs that none of us are aware of,” said Katherine Bruch, District 1.
Bruch wanted to place PdV as the county’s 10th priority; Commissioner Michael Meek, District 3, did not agree.
Meek said placing PdV lower on the list would show it is not important to the county.
“We got all these people in Albuquerque and to the south of us asking for way more money than this, and they are putting their projects, which have no real chance of coming to fruition unless this gets pushed down, and I believe we have to maintain our due diligence in keeping this our No. 1 position,” Meek said.
The county recently moved a temporary animal shelter to the Sandoval County administrative complex in Bernalillo. County Manager Wayne Johnson was tasked by the commission to plan a permanent animal shelter, estimated to cost $4.35 million.
Some items on the list are mandatory, like body cameras for law enforcement and being ADA compliant, tying the hands of the county, Johnson said at the Sept. 6 meeting.
The county needs to purchase more body cameras for deputies, with an estimated cost of $724,000.
The county is requesting from the state about $400,000 to make county-owned voting sites permanently ADA compliant, plus another $560,000 to build an addition to a shop in Cuba that services county vehicles.
The next county commission meeting on Oct. 1, will be lived streamed at sandovalcountynm.gov, under “Quick links” in a tab called meeting videos.