Sandoval County Commission Chairman Dave Heil, far right, at the county commission meeting Thursday unveiled a new business-awareness initiative called “Work. Live. Stay,” which points to the county’s need to get move-in-ready commercial sites to help sustain the local tax base. Here, commissioners, from left, Michael Meek, Kenneth Eichwald, Katherine Bruch and Jay Block join Heil with the banner that will pop up at gatherings around the county.
(Stephen Montoya/ Rio Rancho Observer)

BERNALILLO – An invitation from Rio Rancho’s Governing Body to talk with the Sandoval County Commission met with optimism by commissioners at Thursday night’s meeting.

Rio Rancho City Manager David Campbell presented the commission with the request, saying that many of Sandoval County’s initiatives parallel with Rio Rancho’s.

“We are inviting the commission to join us at the governing body meeting on the 20th (of August) at 4 o’clock specifically to talk about the ICIP (Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan) to begin to coordinate our respective strategies,” Campbell said. “There’s so many things we have in common with the county, not the least of which is a common lobbyist.”

He said it’s not too early to begin working on a legislative priority package for the 30-day legislative session in 2020.

“I think it would also be good to have discussions around economic development and city and county services that are provided like, for example, the work that we do on public safety and public health,” he said.

Campbell said these are areas where the city and the county have very strong alliances.

“This meeting is not exclusive,” he said. “This is not intended for the commission to not have discussions with other constituent governments within the county, but there is a need for us in Rio Rancho to work particularly close to all of you.”

Campbell said the commission’s presence at the governing body meeting will help the city be more informed about its process on the ICIP, which will be brought up on Aug. 28.

Chairman Dave Heil said he sees this invitation as one in a series of discussions that the county should be having.

“When we have this conversation with Rio Rancho, we should go have a conversation with the Town of Bernalillo, we should go have a conversation with the town of Corrales, and if Cuba wants to talk with us, we should go talk with Cuba,” Heil said, in essence wanting to open the lines of communication among the commission and municipalities the county.

Heil said the commission would function better if it took the time to talk with its constituent governments county-wide.

During the announcement portion of the meeting, Heil presented the commission chambers with a new initiative called “Work. Live. Stay.”

Heil said much of Sandoval County is a bedroom community but many residents spend their money elsewhere.

“If this continues, our property taxes will be on the rise in order to sustain tax-funded resources,” he said. “The majority of our residents leave our county to work and our students leave for more competitive opportunities… Our dollars will follow.”

Heil said the county needs to have move-in-ready sites and buildings to attract new businesses.

“With new business comes jobs, a stronger tax base and a sustainable community,” he said.

Heil said this new “Work. Live. Stay.” initiative will pop up at gatherings around the county to raise awareness of the county’s serious need for business.