I am glad I don’t live in Santa Fe County. I’m not saying the rest of New Mexico’s government entities are much better — remember the famous anti-Wal Mart balloon landing site debacle in Albuquerque a few years back — but it is pretty amazing how badly the Commission got snookered on the recent $7 million land deal recently profiled by Channel 13’s Larry Barker.
The real problem, of course, began before the County decided to waste $7 million of taxpayers’ money in tough economic times. In fact, the County’s refusal to supply water to the area in order to allow the developer to actually make the land economically productive is nothing short of immoral and a brazen abuse of government power.
While government at all levels owns massive tracts of land — including nearly half of New Mexico –strict limits need to be placed on what governments can do in terms of putting land off limits, takings, and purchases. Otherwise, debacles like what the Santa Fe County Commission did (and Albuquerque’s City Council did before) will keep happening and taxpayers will keep taking it in the shorts, both in terms of wasted tax dollars and stalled economic development.