Santa Fe County commissioners want to talk with city leaders about what the county manager says are lingering issues regarding annexations, and one commissioner hopes to broach the idea of possibly changing course on an area of the county north of West Alameda Street that is scheduled to become city territory in 2018.
“My constituents do not want to be city residents,” said Commissioner Anna Hansen, whose district encompasses that area.
But the city manager said he does not anticipate much appetite on the city’s side for renegotiating annexation agreements.
County commissioners this week approved a resolution, introduced by Hansen, to request a meeting with city councilors on various concerns, namely which entity will be responsible for drainage improvements on Alameda, a possible transfer of a county-owned park that sits on city land and whether arrangements for two county areas ought to be reconsidered.
Commissioners sounded a note of caution about whether city policymakers would have time to address county concerns before the March 6 city election.
“It’s bad timing on the county’s part, realistically,” Commissioner Anna Hamilton said. “We’re not likely to be talking with them.”
Hansen said she simply hoped to begin discussions before March, when city voters will fill four seats of the eight seats on the City Council and elect a new mayor.
“I do want to put pressure [on] the city to start thinking about it,” Hansen said. “Whoever becomes the mayor and whoever are the new city councilors need to know this is something they’re going to have to face and talk about.”
At the County Commission meeting this week, Hansen asked residents who live in the area north of West Alameda Street to stand; seven or eight did. Hansen said these residents felt they had not been adequately represented in local government and wanted to express their wish to have their properties remain outside city limits.
Commissioner Robert Anaya said negotiations surrounding a phased series of annexations had been difficult and time-consuming, centering on which entity was best-suited to provide police and fire protection services to a given area.
City Manager Brian Snyder later echoed that sentiment to The New Mexican.
“I think there is interest in discussion about the challenges annexation presents going forward,” Snyder said, “but in my conversations with councilors so far, there has been little appetite for going so far as to open the agreement back up for renegotiation, especially with elections looming and political season upon us.
“So for the time being, we’re going to continue to implement and follow that agreement,” he added, “and anything beyond that will be a decision made by the governing body.”
Anaya said he wants to include law enforcement and fire departments of both the city and county in whatever discussions might take place between councilors and commissioners.
The next phase of annexation will be complete by June 10, according to a county memo.
Contact Tripp Stelnicki at 505-428-7626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.