LL, Miller disappointed over mill levy

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The proposed hospital in Los Lunas continues to make progress even though the Valencia County Commission voted to obligate the mill levy money to a hospital project in Belen.

The next step to build the Valencia County Regional Medical Center was taken with the passing of a resolution by the Los Lunas Village Council Thursday to sign a letter of intent with the Miller Architect firm for the development phase of a new hospital and medical campus.

"We support this effort," said Mayor Robert Vialpando. "That was very upsetting what happened with the commission, but I just want you all to hang in there, because we want you here."

The seven-month agreement is exclusive and confidential regarding the development, business plan, completion, operations partners selection, land acquisition, funding finalization, final design, contractor selection, health department application review and building permitting, said Ralph Mims, economic development manager.

"We are working with our operations partner, and we will be announcing who the operations partner is during this phase," said Darin Miller, of the architect firm.

The Valencia County Commission voted 3-2 to enter into a joint powers agreement to provide the mill levy to a hospital in Belen at its Sept. 19 meeting.

"I want to make it clear (that) this has affected our approach on this project," Miller said. "It's affected our discussions with our providers, it's affected our discussions with our funding sources. It sends a message that citizens of the county don't all support what we're trying to do in this community."

The situation might cause a delay in the project, but Miller is committed to the project and said the hurdle could be tackled.

Councilor Charles Griego said hurdles would more aptly be called "obstacles."

Miller said he wanted to make sure everybody understood there could be delays in the schedule he had originally planned, because there may be some things preventing it.

A county-wide informational presentation and question-and-answer period with Miller regarding the Valencia Regional Medical Center is scheduled from 5 to 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the village of Los Lunas Administrative Building, 660 Main St. NW, and from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Del Rio Senior Center, 351 Rio Communities Blvd.

For further information, contact Ralph L. Mims at 839-5654.


-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.