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San Juan project may be delayed

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By David Giuliani

San Juan residents may have to wait awhile for improvements to their community center.

San Miguel County officials previously believed that the San Juan County Community Center Association owned the building, but it turns out the Pecos school district is the owner.

That matters because the state Department of Finance and Administration is requiring that government entities actually own the buildings that they’re receiving state money to improve.

The school district apparently transferred the community center building to San Juan, a western San Miguel County community, in 1973, but no one completed the paperwork, so the transfer was never made official, said Alex Tafoya, the county’s planning and zoning supervisor.

Tafoya said at this week’s County Commission meeting that the county has approached the Pecos schools to enter into an agreement to allow the county to serve as the fiscal agent for the project. If that doesn’t work, the county must have the money reauthorized to the Pecos district, which would delay the project, he said.

Tafoya’s boss, County Manager Les Montoya, said he has received an indication from the district that it would be open to such a proposal.

County Attorney Jesus Lopez said he doubted that such an agreement would work. He said the new general counsel for the Department of Finance and Administration is a stickler for the rule requiring that an entity own the building it improves.

“You have to own the property. Period,” Lopez said. “I don’t know if a memorandum of understanding is going to work... That’s what we’re dealing with — a lot of nonsense,” referring to the state.

The commission approved Dreamcatcher Construction’s bid of $40,000 for the community center project, with the contingency that the county enter a memorandum of understanding.