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Voters might decide on new complex in November

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The Sandoval County Commission on Thursday will hear an update on plans for a judicial complex addition and construction of a public safety building, a $23 million proposal for land near the county administrative building.

It’s possible county voters will be asked to approve the project in November.

“Nothing on this project is definite at this point,” county spokesman Sidney Hill said in a recent email. “The administration is doing groundwork so the commission can decide whether it wants to move forward on the project.”

The county estimates it would pay $9 million for the public safety building and $14 million to expand the district and magistrate courts. The county attorney has finalized bond questions, which voters could approve to pay for the project, according to a report from the county manager.

The commission last fall awarded RMKM Architecture, based in Albuquerque, a bid to study parking and space needs through 2040, based on population projections, and to produce three renderings and floor plans.

Court staff moved into the existing judicial complex in 2005 and expected it to meet their needs for a decade. The facility lacks an extra courtroom for the new district court judge the governor will appoint in the coming weeks.

Economic development

In another presentation, commissioners will hear about the first of two studies undertaken by the Sandoval County Economic Development Foundation, a nonprofit that has been affiliated with the Rio Rancho Economic Development Corporation for the past decade. The county contracted for an evaluation of whether certain parcels near urban areas could support manufacturing or other industry.

As called for in the county’s economic development strategy, SCEDF examined the possibility of attracting companies that would bring to the area economic base jobs, which grow the local economy by exporting goods and services for sale out-of-state, according to an online copy of the report.

The study found 687 acres owned by AMREP Corp. and 529 acres of state land, both in Rio Rancho Estates West, could support heavy industrial uses, but the distance to industrial water treatment and sewer infrastructure would pose some challenges.

Land just north and south of where US 550 and Interstate 25 intersect could support mixed or light industrial uses. The north corridor consists of 77 acres spread across four parcels belonging to two owners. The south corridor would bring together 128 acres from 10 owners.

The study has no recommendations for two parcels near Algodones. The Bureau of Land Management has 3,169 acres, but it does not plan to stop mining gravel operations already happening there. Another 1,121 acres owned by Alfred Baca requires further study.

SRMC update

The commissioners will also hear an update on UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center. The hospital has added “signature services” in recent months, such as a breast cancer program and a minimally invasive spine center, and reduced others, such as urology.

The bariatric program at SRMC will see 150-200 patients in the next year. The hospital keeps its behavioral health unit near or at capacity. Behavioral health could soon expand to include outpatient services for eating disorders and substance abuse.

Dr. Tony Ogburn, chief medical officer, outlined for the SRMC board in May how he expects over the next six months to increase clinical and surgical volumes by at least 20 percent. Outpatient services would run at 70-75 percent capacity, up from 48-49 percent.

The hospital plans to keep recruiting providers who consider SRMC their hospital. UNM Health Sciences will soon implement a strategy for increasing SRMC provider production levels overall by 25 percent. The push for more patients would likely put SRMC on the path to profitability.

Other business

The commission has a few other items on its agenda.

Commissioner Glenn Walters is expected to discuss a couple of free dental care events at Santa Ana Star Center in the coming year. Low-income individuals will be eligible for the first event, with the second one open to all county residents.

The commission is slated to approve almost half a million dollars in grants from the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration for county DWI programs. A vote is scheduled on new fees for individuals in supervised probation for DWI.

The commissioners also will decide whether to approve platting for the latest phases of the Petroglyph Trails Subdivision in Placitas.

Thursday’s meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the commission chambers at the county administration building, 1500 Idalia Road NE in Bernalillo.

 

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