LOS LUNAS — Los Lunas village councilors are looking toward the future and what can be provided to citizens.
During the Feb. 9 village council meeting, Los Lunas Administrator Greg Martin outlined the 2023-27 strategic priority list, which was unanimously adopted by the council.
“The council generally meets every four years to decide on strategic priorities,” Martin said. “The last four-year cycle came to an end in 2022.”
During a retreat in October and a workshop in January, the council discussed possible new — as well as some current — priorities and goals.
Martin said priorities and goals can and will change, depending on funding and circumstances. The village administrator said the council’s list of priorities is in no particular order.
Interstate 25 interchange project with an east-west corridor
Los Lunas officials are currently seeking more funding to build the proposed project, which includes a new I-25 interchange, and an east-west, four-lane highway, a new river crossing and four signalized intersections with the goal of alleviating congestion from Los Lunas Main Street.
The village is about $51 million short of fully funding the $141 million first phase of the project. The entire cost of the project is $220 million.
“The interchange project has a timeline laid out, assuming we can get the funding,” Martin told the council. “We’re working on that, and we’re working on getting final plans and specifications before February 2024.”
The village administrator said they are also seeking approval by the Federal Highway Administration for the project by April 2024, and hopefully start construction by September 2024.
Martin said this priority boils down to key facilities village is considering for the future, specifically a larger library and a new aquatic center.
“This one is to continue with the design of such a facility and location,” Martin said. “We still need to identify funding for both facilities, which again is going to be challenging because of the steep price tag.”
Martin said if all goes well, he hopes to have these two facilities under construction within the next four years.
Martin said the village’s public works department will continue to enhance, update, modify and improve the village’s water, sewer, storm water, pedestrian, bicycle, roadway, landscape and traffic infrastructure.
Some of the specific projects include the overhaul of water well No. 4, which involves drilling a new well, replacing the current arsenic treatment and refurbishing the storage tank.
Martin said another improvement will be the construction of a new water well — No. 8 — which includes the associated arsenic treatment facility.
The village administrator said they are also looking to improve access and connectivity for pedestrian and bicyclists in the village, remove asbestos and cement water pipes throughout Los Lunas.
“(We’d like to) start construction of a new membrane bio reactor facility … we’re looking at building a second, new MBR plant,” Martin said. “It’s a lengthy process of design and construction, and we’ll need to identify funding.”
“We have a few different goals here,” Martin said. “We need to develop and publish a strategic plan for economic development.”
Martin said the village should implement strategies to help small businesses in the older areas of the village. He suggests establishing a main street overlay zone to make improvements and maintain its character.
He also said Los Lunas will be instituting a building facade improvement program, which Erin Callahan, the community development director, will spearhead.
“This is simply to maintain the buildings, the look and aesthetics of the buildings,” Martin said.
One goal the village is hoping to reach is supporting the development of affordable housing in Los Lunas.
“That involves possibly providing incentives … as well as modifying our zoning code to make single-family housing and accessory dwelling units accessible in residential areas,” Martin said.
“Generally, these things will take place over months and years,” Martin said. “We’ll continue to chip away at it.”
“Just because of the workforce situation, and every four years we do a classification study — and it just so happens we’re in the middle of that as we speak,” Martin said.
The goal is completing the study and then presenting it to the council for consideration.
“We’ll be watching our staffing needs, the types of positions and number of positions to make sure we’re providing a high level of service to the community,” Martin said.
The administrator said the study will also recommend the classification and pay rate of current positions based on market analysis.
“This one will probably get done first as part of the fiscal year,” Martin said of this priority.
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.