Intel Doesn't Hire Enough New Mexican's Again

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From the Albuquerque Journal “Intel misses mark on in-state hires

For the third time in five years, computer chipmaker Intel failed to ensure that 60 percent of the new hires at its Rio Rancho plant are New Mexico residents.

That means the company will have to spend $100,000 toward school-to-work programs, under an agreement it made with Sandoval County.

Liz Shipley, Intel’s government affairs manager in New Mexico, said as technology becomes more complex, the company is having more difficulty finding candidates locally and nationally who have the needed master’s or doctoral degrees in science and engineering.

“It’s not just in New Mexico; we’re seeing a shortage throughout the country,” Shipley told Sandoval County commissioners on Thursday.

A report Shipley presented to the commission showed that about 26 percent – or 19 of the 74 employees the company hired in 2012 – were state residents.

Intel currently has about 3,300 employees at its Rio Rancho plant. The 60 percent hiring goal was one of the conditions the county set in 2004 when it approved a $16 billion revenue bond for Intel.

Intel missed the goal in 2011 and 2009 as well. In 2011, 35 percent of 349 new hires were from New Mexico. In 2009, three of eight new hires were state residents. In 2010, the company’s New Mexico hires were right at the 60 percent mark.

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RIo Rancho Gets Sandoval County's Problems

A KOAT article “Animals Run Wild In Rio Rancho, Retired Officer Says” says that stray animals from the rest of Sandvoal County are being dumped in Rio Rancho.

“They’re either being brought by the citizens, who are dumping them in Rio Rancho, or they’re wandering in, and that’s just a burden in Rio Rancho,” he said.
Sandoval County leaders said the only animal control officer was transferred after he was involved in a criminal incident that was still under investigation.
Sheriff’s deputies were expected to continue to respond to certain animal control calls. Because they cannot transport animals, county leaders asked residents to take stray animals to local shelters to help with the problem.

Rain Water Harvesting In Rio Rancho

A great article by John Fleck in The Albuquerque Journal titled “Rain, Rain, Come Again Any Day” in which Carl Axness, a former Sandia Labs scientist, lives completely on rain water in Rio Rancho.

“It’s not that I wanted to be real green, though I like being green,” Axness said one recent morning as the sun beat down on a layer of snow blanketing his neighborhood four miles northeast of Intel’s Sandoval County computer chip plant. Behind him, solar panels tapped into the morning sun’s energy while the steady drips from the metal roof slowly filled the cisterns that surround the spacious home.

The cisterns are Axness’ practical solution to a quintessentially Rio Rancho problem. The lot is located in that sprawling, platted part of the city’s suburban edge that did not have water lines. Axness bought years ago, and expected a water line would be extended past the property by the time he was ready to build on it. When that did not happen, he realized he was faced with a cost of more than $50,000 to install pipe to get city water to his house, so he began exploring the alternatives.

Intel Looses A Friend In The Sandoval County Tax Department

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the Sandoval County Manager has been fired over an Intel Tax Dispute.

Sandoval County Manager Juan Vigil was fired Friday following a property tax dispute with computer giant Intel.
As a result of resolving that dispute, the household-name international company that opened its Rio Rancho plant more than 30 years ago will have to pay property taxes for the first time this year.
County Commission Chairman Darryl Madalena hand-delivered a one-page letter to Vigil on Friday that told him to vacate his office and return all county property by 4 p.m. Monday.
Vigil did not respond to a phone message asking for comment.
Earlier this week, Vigil provided documents, which he said were unofficial, that showed the county assessed Intel’s Rio Rancho plant property at $38.2 million, with a taxable value of $12.7 million.
Jami Grindatto, Intel’s director of corporate affairs for the Southwestern U.S. said this week the company was happy to go on the county tax rolls and the county assessor is determining how much tax the company will owe.
In an interview on Friday, Madalena said the reason for firing Vigil was that the county needed to “move in a different, more positive direction.”

Update 04/19/2011: I was confused by this article on the first read. I thought they fired the County Manager becasue he didn’t want to tax Intel. It appears that the now fired county manager had completed the paperwork to proceed with taxing Intel, thus he was fired. So the new direction the commission wants to move in is the old direction, where Intel doesn’t get taxed. This firing has apparently caused a big problem for the commission to continue working.

“Move in a different, more positive direction” means corporations need to pay more taxes. This is at a time when there are rumors that Intel is looking to expand the Rio Rancho site after they announced a new Fab in Arizona and no doubt the tax situation has something to do with that (note: as an Intel employee, I only know the same rumors that are reported in the news papers). It’s also important to remember that states compete with each other and another state will be happy to make Intel a better deal.

The article goes on about how Intel has spent millions to build things like Rio Rancho High School. The article doesn’t mention that the city of Rio Rancho was an overgrown truck stop before Intel decided to employ thousands of the most highly paid positions (not including government) in the state of New Mexico. Meanwhile the Village of Corrales is trying to stop any attempt at Intel expanding because they think Intel is killing them with pollution.

Someone will email me in a panic that Intel will shut down the Rio Rancho site because of this news. I think Intel is far from making this happen. But this is not something that will encourage Intel to expand the site or make further upgrades making the long term future of the site questionable. Refer to why Tesla didn’t build a factory in Albuquerque, because California made them a better deal.

Gardening By The Yard TV Show In Rio Rancho's Waterwise Garden

HGTV’s Gardening By The Yard with Paul James will be showing an episode filmed at Sandoval County’s Waterwise Garden in Rio Rancho. The episode number is GBY-1807 and is entitled “Xeriscaping, Drought-Tolerant Plants, Wise Water Practices“. It will be shown in New Mexico on HGTV which airs Sunday June 7th at 5:30am.

Gardening By The Yard is one of my favorite gardening shows and it’s too bad I didn’t know they were here filming. I will add video of the episode here if it becomes available.

Crime Down 30% In Sandoval County

Good news if you live in Sandoval County, crime is down 30% according to KOB TV. Sandoval county is where Rio Rancho resides. Albuquerque resides in Bernalillo County. In a unrelated note, the Town of Bernalillo is also in Sandoval county.

Speaking of crime, areaconnect.com has a nifty city crime rate comparison tool. Holy crap if Albuquerque doesn’t have a severely high crime rate. It’s not just higher than Rio Rancho but higher than just about every city I compare it to.

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Dumping Skinned Coyote Carcasses Illegal, Skinning Them Not

Rio Rancho man accused of illegally dumping coyote carcasses (Via Free New Mexican).

A Rio Rancho man faces charges of illegally dumping about 20 skinned coyote carcasses in an arroyo west of the city.Coyotes are not a protected species in New Mexico, and it is legal to hunt the animals. However, Undersheriff Tim Lucero said it is illegal to dump carcasses in that part of Sandoval County. County ordinance makes violators liable to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 for dumping.