UP -- The city of Farmington this week announced something unusual in its first quarter financial report. For the first three months of the current fiscal year (July, August and September), the city had a revenue surplus of $1.6 million. That means it is possible the city won't have to spend the $3.5 million it pulled from cash reserves to cover expected deficits this year. Revenues were higher than expected and expenses were less. City Manager Rob Mayes says the city found efficiencies, reorganized departments, cut $3 million from program funding and reduced its workforce. It will take an economic recovery to reverse this trend, which can't happen soon enough. But in the meantime, we are glad the city is acting with financial discipline.

 

DOWN -- This week the San Juan County Commission unanimously voted to table a vote on a land development code. The code would have implemented zoning laws in the county for the first time. Now the county will approach zoning-related problems without an overarching vision. That kind of piecemeal approach almost always results in a lack of coordination, which leads to unintended consequences. It's just not a good way to govern. We understand the commissioners met some vocal resistance from those who say such regulations restrict their property rights. Of course, zoning does create restrictions. It means you have laws that prevent your neighbor from creating a trash dump -- or a strip club -- next to your retirement home. It's too bad what appears to be a dogmatic, anti-government protest -- which we hope does not represent a majority of county residents -- got in the way of common sense.

 

UP -- It seems like it's been too long in coming, but the Farmington area can look forward to a permanent director for its new Regional Animal Shelter. A story this week, once again, indicated that the interim situation has not been handled well. And there appears to be plenty of blame to go around. It turns out the new director, Stacie Voss will make less than the consultant who was hired to temporarily run the shelter operation. That consultant, Marcy Eckhardt has been under fire for not being qualified and for receiving overtime that was not part of her original contract. Eckhardt strenuously defends her record and says she worked time she didn't charge for. The whole episode has been messy and we're inclined to agree with Farmington City Coucilman Jason Sandel who says it's time to move on to what we hope will be brighter times for the animal shelter.

 

DOWN -- We think its a bad thing that the Aztec Chamber of Commerce is on the brink of closing its doors. It has been without an executive director since May, three board members resigned and a handful of volunteers, including the former director, are the only people keeping the chamber afloat. "... maybe the majority of businesses in the community don't need us," said Christa Romme, the former director. A Nov. 21 lunch hour meeting at the Aztec School District office likely will decide whether the council continues. We believe Aztec deserves an active chamber equipped to help the town's business sector grow. There might be other ways to accomplish that goal, but even that will take investment from local business owners. We hope Aztec rises to the occasion.