The county commission on Tuesday denied a request to remove speed humps in Rio Communities after several residents spoke on both sides of the issue.
Originally, seven residents petitioned the commission to put speed humps on Horner Street.
Those who favor the speed humps remaining talked about safety, to children in particular, and those who were opposed said they are inconvenient and cause accidents. One resident countered she’d like to see one police report about an accident caused by speed humps.
Four commissioners voted to remove the speed humps, but Commissioner Alicia Aguilar said she’d like to see a report from an engineering firm about whether they should be removed and what that would cost.
She said she had asked for that information earlier.
Commissioner Frank Pando said he has petitions from people wanting these things and complaining about speeders. “We put in stop signs and dips to slow traffic down, I sympathize with you, but speed humps don’t bother me. They’re a very safe thing. It’s mind boggling all these people want these things, and you want them removed.”
Commissioner Gary Daves said the humps are all over Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, but the question is whether it’s an appropriate area for speed humps.
“Do we have the right to speed on Horner?” he asked.
Commissioner Helen Baca said “I get frustrated with speed humps myself. It’s aggravating, but when it comes to protecting the kids, if we take them out and someone is hurt, I would never forgive myself.”
Meanwhile, in other action, Rita Padilla-Gutierrez, president of the Adelino-Tomé Historical Neighborhood Association, questioned why the VIA had not paid its back taxes through the years.
VIA president Bob Davey said in a previous meeting that the VIA has been working with the county for years to straighten out its tax records.
County Treasurer Diane Martinez-Coplen said that she sends out 207,000 tax bills every year and 10,000 delinquent tax notices. After the meeting, she said she wished everyone would pay their back taxes.
But several residents criticized the VIA for not paying all of its taxes every year.
“There’s a tax responsibility from the VIA to the county,” said Padilla-Gutierrez, adding that she thinks the county has pulled out state statutes to excuse the problem. “It’s highly unusual.”
Davey should not have made an appearance to speak during the county manager’s report at the last commission meeting, she said, adding that he should have been listed separately on the agenda. A lot of people had left by the time he came to the commission, she said.
“There’s an appearance of preferential treatment. He should have been under public comment, as opposed to Mr. Davey waltzing in at the last minute,” she said. “I am disappointed the VIA has owed this county money and the county has not collected. The county has been in dire straits for months. Jobs are on the line.”
She also said that the explanation that the county had been doing its billing by hand rather than computer until recently doesn’t explain all the probles. Padilla-Gutierrez said “given the great strides in technology in the last five years, if the county can’t keep up to date with the technology of the computer, something is wrong, or the VIA should have the technology.”
Commissioner Alicia Aguilar said the public should have the opportunity to go through all county records and all action items should be on the agenda.
Resident Ray Garcia asked commissioners for the amount the VIA paid, the amount they will pay and when. “How much do they owe? he asked.
The VIA has said it will pay $500,000 by June and another $300,000 after that, said County Manager James Fernandez.
Garcia wanted to know if there was a penalty for VIA for not paying all taxes at the same time.
Coplen said the VIA is treated the same as other taxpayers. If they do not pay for four years, the state can sell their land
“It’s up to the individual taxpayer to keep one year ahead of the state. They never sold their property,” Coplen said.
Bingamon rep arrives
Representatives of U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman will be in the county on Monday, April 22, at the Belen Senior Center from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., at the Valencia Campus from noon to 1:45 p.m. and the Los Lunas Senior Center from 2 to 4 p.m.