By Marty Mayfield
The Raton City Commission met on Tuesday, April 26th in regular session, and commissioners heard from City Treasurer Michael Ann Antonucci on the third quarter financial report that showed a decline in gross receipts tax, this time by about 3.3% or $76,712. Antonucci reported more bad news indicating that the small cities assistance fund also fell short of budget, due in large part, to the State’s budget shortfall this year. As commissioners begin the city’s budget process, Antonucci noted it will be a very tight budget and that cuts might have to be made. City Manager Scott Berry noted that they are hoping for only a 10% increase in health insurance premiums but until they hear from the insurance provider that is only a best guess. (Link to Financial Report March 31 2016) (Link to Budget Adjustment #9)
The Commission approved $5,000 of Lodger’s Tax contingency funds to go to the Raton Little League for hosting the district tournament. It is expected the tourney will draw several hundred people to Raton for upwards to a week. The funds will be used to print programs, t-shirts, supplies and welcome bags.
Commissioners also approved a mutual aid agreement with Colfax county for law enforcement services. The agreement will commission all 12 city officers to operate in the county when needed. Chief John Garcia noted that will be based on availability of officers while still covering the city.
The solid waste department of the New Mexico Environment Department is asking the city to add a fourth water well to monitor ground water at the land fill. Gordon Environmental will continue the water monitoring and will help close the one well and drill the new one. The estimated cost for the work is about $23,500.
The city will also be seeking bids for soil to cover the landfill so water will drain off the site rather than percolate down through the landfill. Then the Solid Waste Bureau is wanting at least six inches of tope soil cover over the entire site which is 24 acres.
Jason Phillips also asked for approval to extend the three-year contract with Midway Landfill for tipping fees. The State of Colorado is now charging an additional $.10 fee for tipping fees to pay for recycling efforts in the state. Midway has agreed to keeping the 3-year tipping fee as long as they can add the $.10 fee which will make the tipping fee $15.98 for the next year. Phillips also noted that the Solid Waste Bureau would entertain a $225,000 grant application if the city would commit to a $25,000 loan to construct the transfer station. That will give the city $750,000 for the transfer station project. The city has already committed to the $500,000 loan for the transfer station and this will make the monthly payment $1500 which Phillips noted is well within the solid waste rates.
The decision to take over the train depot was once again tabled until more information can be obtained from BNSF about moving some equipment and the electrical costs associated with keeping the equipment in the building. The current electric bill is about $500 a month with the bulk of that cost probably coming from the communications equipment. Berry noted that some remodel work will likely need to be done to make the lobby space more usable since a wall in the building is crimping that space to make room for the communications equipment.
The city had an inspector give a cursory look at the building and he reported that there probably isn’t very much asbestos or lead if any in the building but can’t be 100% sure without samples. The report is based on the age of previous work that has been done.
Pat and Carol Mares asked for an easement for a garage that appears to be extending acros the property line by two feet. The title company is asking for the easement so the couple can purchase the property on La Cueva Street and North First.
Commissioners also approved the cost proposal for repaving the remainder of Tiger Drive from Second Street to the railroad tracks. The cost of the project is estimated at $200,000 with $150,000 from the state the city will include $50,000 from the gas tax to do the project.
Commissioners also approved budget adjustment nine for the city as well as a budget adjustment for CCJJACB. It was noted that one of the boy’s counselors had left and that the money used there was being transferred to the girl’s counselors where they have a bigger load instead of filling the boys position.
City Manager Berry also noted that the Northeast Regional Transportation planning organization will meet at the Sweet Shop on April 27 at 10:00 a.m. and then the Northeast Economic Development will meet at the Sweet shop for 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Work on the multimodal project on First Street is progressing and should be done in June.
Commissioners will meet May 3 at 6:00 p.m. for a special meeting to discuss the City’s budget for next year, and again on May 10 for their regular meeting. Raton City Commission regular meetings are broadcast on AM 1490 KRTN.
(Link to the Proclamation Raton Cheerleaders 2016)
(Link to the Proclamation Drinking Water Week)