I am pleased to announce that I am the chair of the Santa Fe County Complete Count Committee for the 2020 United States Census, which was established by the Board of County Commissioners. In April, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham established the New Mexico Complete Count Commission to ensure an accurate and complete count in our state and it is important to me that we have as many people counted as possible in Santa Fe County.
New Mexico is considered a “hard-to-count” state and it is estimated that about 43 percent of or population or around 900,000 people live in areas that are “hard-to-count”. What it makes it even more difficult is that for the first time, this census will be taken primarily online.
According to census officials, if an individual doesn’t get counted that is going to cost the state of New Mexico approximately $30,000 over the next 10 years. The average household in New Mexico is 2.5 or 2.6 people so if a household doesn’t get counted, that can mean $100,000 the state won’t get. This directly affects the amount of money that will come from the state to our county and our communities.
Watch for more news from the Santa Fe County Complete Count Committee on the 2020 Census.
Espanola YMCA Teen Center Robotics Team Meets Commissioners
The Santa Fe County Board of Commissioners, at my request recognized the Espanola YMCA Teen Center and its robotics team. Team Intergalactic which traveled to Gunzhou, China this past summer, and placed first in the RoboRave International Robotics Competition.
For the competition, the team designed and built a robot that uses a self-watering irrigation system for a greenhouse. The robot travels along a track system that is primarily powered by electricity, but has a renewable energy component that allows it to be powered by solar and wind turbine energy.
The team scored 87 points out of a possible 100 for creativity, technology, presentation and teamwork. There were some 3,000 participants in the competition from 700 teams with 17 countries represented.
Team Intergalactic has been competing for seven consecutive years. Board members were happy to meet the team members and their coaches as well as the Teen Center staff. Team members are Brandon Sandoval, 14, a freshman at Mesa Vista High School, Zachariah Apodaca, 12, a 7th grader at Carlos Vigil Middle School, and Ben Sandoval, 17, who attends Northern New Mexico College. They were led by Coach Ben Sandoval, director of the Espanola YMCA Teen Center. Others who helped to design and build the robot were Janessa Sandoval, Sky Romero, Estrella Aragonez, Isaiah Guinn and Angel Perea.
I was very proud to present the team and coaches to my fellow commissioners. I wish them great success in their future endeavors. You make New Mexico proud!
Bennie J. Chavez Senior and Community Center Park Improvements
$214,000 has been budgeted for Park improvements for the Bennie J. Senior and Community Center Park. Santa Fe County Planning Department has received a preliminary set of plans from the Landscape Architect and will be scheduling a community meeting in early November to share and discuss the plans with community members. We hope to move forward with final plans, award the project, and begin improvements in the spring of 2020.
New Mexico Counties Build Bridges
Commissioners from two northern counties came together to construct two bridges in Chimayo, County Roads 94 and 97, connecting Santa Fe County on the south and Rio Arriba County on the north, separated by the Santa Cruz River. The bridges have been a local focus for years due to seasonal flooding and washout of the culverts.
This is a safety issue for our residents. When I was elected in 2015, the bridges became a priority for me and I am happy to see it to completion. I am proud of the work and coordination between the counties. The opportunity to share resources between counties enhances our ability to stretch our dollars for the benefit of the community.
Rio Arriba County Commissioner James Martinez added, “It is exciting to see how Rio Arriba County and Santa Fe County can work together on behalf of the residents of Chimayo”.
Espanola Pathways Shelter
Some 40% of the City of Espanola is in my district and along with many of my constituents I have been very concerned about the homeless situation there for many years.
Last November, a group of people came together in the Rio Arriba County with the goal of establishing a homeless shelter in Espanola. They recently established the Espanola Pathways Shelter Board of Directors and are about to sign a lease for a building on Riverside Drive near the former McDonalds.
The New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness is the fiscal agent for the group. Rep. Joseph Sanchez gave $225,000 from the State Legislature for operating costs and the proposed shelter has received a special use permit from the City of Espanola Planning and Zoning Commission.
Last week, I toured the building on Riverside drive and spent a couple of hours visiting with the shelter team and was very impressed with what I saw and heard. I am meeting again with the board Nov. 1 along with some Santa Fe County staff members to see what opportunities there are for collaboration and support. Espanola Pathways Shelter representatives be on the agenda for an upcoming Santa County Commission meeting at my request.
Pojoaque Recreations Fields Phase III
Phase III improvements focus on adding community amenities to transition the facility from a seasonal recreational facility to a year-round community park. Improvements include a T-ball field, additional field amenities, two playgrounds, a landscaped pedestrian promenade with natural play area, and site furnishings, an orchard/demonstration garden, parallel parking along CR 84 which accommodates an additional new 14 spaces, and the completion of a walking path.
Architectural improvements include a large picnic shelter for (30 person capacity) with a garden shed. The project is scheduled to be completed by December 5, 2019.
The Santa Fe County Board of County Commissioners hold regularly scheduled meetings at 2 p.m. on the second and last Tuesday of every month. Meetings are held at 102 Grant Avenue, Santa Fe New Mexico, 87501. For questions please contact the Santa Fe County Manager’s Office at (505) 986-6200.
My Contact Information
My Constituent Services Liaison is Orlando Romero. He can be reached at (505) 986-6328 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Orlando is very familiar with what’s happening in District 1 and will be happy to answer questions or refer you to the people you need to talk to.
My email address is email@example.com.