Community Services Department Director Cory Styron
By Kristen Laskey
Los Alamos Daily Message
For field group organizations looking to reserve a park or sports field owned by Los Alamos County, there are now a few options to consider.
Rather than paying an hourly rate to use county property, local groups can also choose to complete work credit hours.
According to the county’s Work Credit Program document, a field user group can redeem work credits to cover what is owed for field use reservations. To use work credits, the group organizer must ensure that the league or organization has signed up for enough work credit projects for the cost of field use reservations. Hours worked will be credited toward the amount due for field bookings at the labor credit rate of $28.54 per hour.
The document further states that field bookings can be paid for in full through payments, work credits, or a combination of the two. In the event that the team runs out of volunteer hours, they can pay the difference or work with the Community Services Division to fill the volunteer hours before the start of the next season. All unused volunteer hours must be completed or paid for before additional court reservations are made. The excess volunteer hours will carry over from season to season.
Field User Group Organizers are responsible for documenting work credit hours completed throughout the season on the Los Alamos County Work Credit Form, which can be found here. This form will be checked against the lists provided by the volunteer coordinators once the work is completed. Field User Groups have 10 months from the first field booking date to complete Work Credit volunteer hours and submit all documentation.
CSD Director Cory Styron said volunteer work can range from maintaining sports fields to assisting the county with different programs and events.
“We’re trying to donate ways to help improve the community, cover some of the costs, and abide by New Mexico’s anti-donation clause,” he said.
He added that this does not apply to public schools in Los Alamos. They are exempted from paying fees or making work credit.
This policy isn’t new, Styron said, but it was updated last fall to evolve the work credit program.
CSD office manager Linda Lindstrom said field users were briefed on the changes at an annual field user meeting held on Feb. 9. Regarding participation in the work credit program, she said COVID has made volunteer work difficult.
However, “we’re quite flexible and this is the first year we’ve reached out to organizations with more opportunities,” Lindstrom said.
“Users in the field have worked well with us, asking questions and coming up with ideas to meet their volunteer hours,” she added. “Some were surprised at how many hours they had in the field bookings.”