The Observer applauds the Sandoval County Commission for doing what seems to be one the best ways to govern an area: by reaching out to the sections that make it up.
Earlier this month, the commission unanimously accepted newly appointed Rio Rancho City Manager David Campbell’s invitation to take part in this week’s City of Rio Rancho work session. Chairman Dave Heil made it a point to say before Campbell’s invitation that sitting down with officials from other parts of the county is important.
Residents of Sandoval County live in very different communities with very different needs and sometimes wide geographical separations. Commissioners keeping an eye on their own districts may not know much about the needs of other districts – until they make that extra effort to find out.
The Observer knows all too well that each vote on the commission has a ripple effect throughout the county. An informed vote does more good than one made out of partisan standing or sway of rumor.
It is better to see and govern than it is to vote uninformed.
Although we stand by this decision, we also understand it will take time and planning to get to each area.
Commissioner Katherine Bruch mentioned at the last commission meeting that some of the tribal councils in the county felt like communications had dwindled since last year. In fact, tribal consultation has not been brought up at a commission meeting since the commission decided last year to table discussions of a possible oil and gas ordinance.
It is important to consider this issue, right along with the commission’s need to gather information from each area of the county.
Yes, it is true that Rio Rancho is the financial hub of Sandoval County and many of the county’s initiatives line up along with it. This is where the commission should tread carefully, so as to not look like it is playing favorites.
Just last year, District 5 saw several outlying libraries put on the waiting list for bond funds to bring Rio Rancho’s funding closer to previous levels. The argument was that Rio Rancho’s libraries were used more, and the revamped bonding cycle is meant to get everyone the money they were expecting, just maybe two years later in some cases.
Trying to balance the competing needs of different communities with finite amounts of money is difficult, and the commission came up with that arrangement as a workable compromise.
Still, commissioners need to be careful to avoid the appearance of favoritism as they proceed in the future, or it could leave a divide where there is need for a bridge.
We look forward to the outcome good old-fashioned communication can bring to our county government. It is the Observer’s hope that it will bring us together in a time when so many areas seem to be divided.
If we can manage to be on the same page with different issues, our county will benefit from it for years to come.