Think of county employees
when discussing budget
We all know that Valencia County is in a financial crisis. The Valley Improvement Association has spent thousands of dollars, just in the past few years, to help the county correct inaccuracies in its records and collect taxes from our association — something that the county couldn’t do without accurate billing.
As a result, VIA will provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue that the county hadn’t counted on this year. This won’t solve the county’s problems. But, it will give a dedicated county staff and our elected officials time to work on them.
I don’t know of anyone doing what we are doing. Yet some people are attacking us for not acting sooner and faster. More unfairly, those folks are criticizing county staff and questioning their competency and commitment. This is a beleaguered county staff trying to do a full-time job in a four-day week, with lay-offs threatening sometimes life-long careers. And we as citizens all too often act as if we don’t know or care how hard they’re trying and how much they’re suffering.
And that’s really not fair when elected officials and staff need all the help we can muster for them if they’re to successfully resolve Valencia County’s financial problems. Instead of attacking one another and them, we as a community need to do the following four things:
1. Accept that county officials face tough decisions. Let them make those decisions, and move on. The commission, elected officials and staff can’t make all of us happy over the next few years. We should all argue our cases in a civil manner while they’re trying to decide what’s right. And then we all need to get back to work so they can do what they have to do.
2. Be glad there are alternatives, find them and support them. The county commission chose to keep staff over 4-H. That hurt some folks. Our legislators found some interim funding. Now folks are working on a proposal for a mill levy that could keep the program alive. Meanwhile, kids and parents are raising funds and working their tails off. We need to support the mill levy and them.
3. Learn how to just deal with it. We can visit any senior center and talk to men and women who know first-hand that “tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”
4. Acknowledge the efforts of county staff. That always includes poorly paid deputies and volunteer firefighters. But it also includes John Mirabal of planning and zoning, who climbed out of a hospital bed to tackle trash strewn on the east mesa — and Toby Jaramillo, who whittled more than 50 zoning violations in one area down to six by showing up and talking to people over and over — and the treasurer’s and assessor’s staffs who have to balance the needs of County government with economic reality and all the other people doing all the good things we don’t know about and never will until they have to stop doing them.
If we all pull together, facing and resolving Valencia County’s problems can bring out the best in us. If we don’t pull together, those problems will surely get the best of us all.
Q: Do you prefer prom to be held in Albuquerque or is it better to have it here at home?