|Budget woes Strap City|
By Marty Mayfield
The petition against Ordinance 983, requiring a voter referendum on the $6.00 service fee, will require the city to reduce the city budget by $273,000 and another $6,000 for the election, which has been scheduled for September 3, 2013. According to City Manager Butch MaGowen the reduction is going to be hard to deal with.
Without the money the six-dollar fee will bring in the city will have to hold off hiring two additional police officers, three fireman and three public works employees. Currently the city is short more than four police officers and it was hoped that the four new officers would get the department back to 8-hour shifts instead of the 12-hour shifts they are now working.
The lack of firemen puts the fire department at bare minimum and the possibility of a higher ISO rating, which could mean higher insurance rates for homeowners. The fire department had worked very hard to acquire the equipment and training to reduce the city’s ISO rating from four to two, now that is in jeopardy to the reduction in staff.
As for the public works department the part time seasonal help will be cut in half and with three less regular employees it means less work will be done. Fewer blade operators during the winter months for snow removal. Less bear patrols to pickup trash nor regular alley patrols to pickup trash items left outside the dumpsters.
In other commission news commissioners approved the MOU with the Chamber of Commerce and the MOU with Service Organization for Youth for the Children’s Youth and Family Department Juvenile grant agreement. The city acts as a fiscal agent for that grant.
Mayor Bobby LeDoux told commissioners that a lack of action on Ordinance 981, which is a new procurement and purchasing ordinance, originally introduced on February 14, 2013, would mean it fails to be adopted. Commissioners then moved on to the next agenda item with no action on Ordinance 981.
Commissioners appointed Thomas Angeli to the Lodger’s Tax Advisory board, David Swanson to the Raton Public Service board and Kevin Nolan to the Planning and Zoning board. John Duran will continue in his position on the Housing Authority board.
City Manager McGowen then thanked all the staff and others for the help in clean up after the rains and for the work done on the holiday activities this past week. He also noted that he police department will continue to work on the current contract with negotiations to continue on their contract.
Sally Chavez, Jami Esquibel and Freda Baca accepted the proclamation for Relay for Life. The 12th annual Relay for Life will be held July 19-20 with a goal of raising more than $40,000 and honoring over 250 cancer survivors.
The next regularly scheduled meeting for the Raton city commission will be July 23 at 6:00 p.m. where commissioners will hear more about the budget and be presented with a final budget for the city.