Taos Mayor Darren Córdova spoke to the town’s commitment to providing quality services in the face of declining revenue during his State of the Town address Jan. 24.
The address was attended by leaders from the town, county, Taos Pueblo and the business community, among others.
Córdova prefaced his speech by presenting awards to attorney Brian James and Public Works Director French Espinoza for the accomplishments of their respective departments during 2012. Córdova described James as a “no-nonsense type of guy that gets things done” and Espinoza in similar terms, saying his department consistently meets tough deadlines.
“(Espinoza) gets things done in the trenches, literally,” he said.
Córdova went on to describe some of the financial challenges facing the town and said town leaders are committed to fiscal accountability. He said at a time when many municipalities are facing furloughs, layoffs, cutbacks “or even worse,” the town of Taos is working proactively to address decreases in tax collections and other financial challenges through “constant monitoring of our budget.”
He went through town functions department by department, discussing various accomplishments from the past year and describing the challenges employees continue to face. He said the town is committed to ensuring its actions reflect the goals, values and vision of the community.
Córdova described Taos’ finances as “very solid and in-the-black and stable.”
“We have had to make tough decisions,” he said.
Among them, Córdova said the town has had to cut funding for deserving nonprofits and ask employees to “do more with less” when positions are lost through attrition. “That’s the environment that we’re in,” he said.
Córdova said it is important for the town to continue investing in infrastructure and marketing. “We’ve actually increased (our marketing budget) from last year,” he said, to nearly $530,000.
Córdova thanked the town’s dedicated employees and credited them with working hard on behalf of the public.
“We’re seeing a decline, but we’re on top of it,” he said. “We know our responsibility.”