In 1949 Los Alamos County was formed from parts of three other existing counties as a separate political subdivision by the New Mexico legislature. It was incorporated on December 10, 1968 when County voters adopted a Charter. The County has the rights and responsibilities of both a county and a municipality under the County’s Charter and New Mexico State law.
The County is located on the Pajarito Plateau in northern New Mexico, about 35 miles northwest of Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico. The County covers about 112 square miles. The National Forest Service owns 41.3% of the County’s area, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) owns 33.4%, the County and its citizens own 14.6%, Bandelier National Monument owns 9%, and 1.7% is held by the United States General Services Administration for federal disposal.
Before the establishment of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1943, a few isolated ranches and a preparatory school for boys occupied the County. This isolated area became the home for scientists and military personnel working as the key part of the Manhattan Project, which resulted in ending World War II. Initially, the Laboratory and the surrounding area were owned and controlled by the federal government. Under the Atomic Energy Communities Act of 1955, the government sold most commercial real estate, residential lots, and housing units to private owners. Churches and institutional properties, including hospitals, schools, municipal offices, the electric, gas, and water distribution systems, and the wastewater collection system were transferred to private institutions, the school system, or municipal ownership.
The County has two permanent funds that it invests with the SIO. The two funds are the Capital Projects Permanent Fund and the Cemetery Trust Fund. The Capital Projects Permanent Fund was established with funds received under a settlement of prior years’ gross receipts taxes. The County Council and the County Charter set this settlement aside specifically for capital projects. The principal is maintained as a permanent fund and a portion of the investment earnings is used to help pay for capital projects. The Cemetery Trust Fund is set aside for the perpetual care of the Guaje Pines Cemetery. Over time, other long-term funds will be considered for investment with the SIO.
Los Alamos County was approved as a client by the State Investment Council in March 2000, and began investing with the SIO in October 2000.