By Marty Mayfield
Raton City Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, July 26th and heard about an animal ordinance that was presented to the commission about 16 months ago that never got any farther than that.
The Raton Humane Society, proponents of changes in the ordinance, are wanting to see stronger penalties and more teeth in the current ordinance that was adopted in 1983, so that officers and animal control have something to work with. One of the provisions will deal with shelters giving specifics about size and type. Other provisions will deal with dog bites and vicious dogs as well as spay and neuter issues.
According to Leslie Fernandez of the Raton Humane Society approximately 500 dogs a year are brought into the shelter and about three quarters of those are not claimed. The society then picks up the costs that the city doesn’t take care of included getting the animals spayed/neutered and adopted or transported elsewhere. Because the Raton Animal Shelter is a No-Kill facility, those costs are very expensive. The Commissioners wanted to read the proposed ordinance and create a panel to go over it and come up with a full working document.
City Manager Berry noted that the city also needs to do that with a solid waste ordinance and others to get fees in line as well as making them more usable.
Commissioners then tabled the two items on the fixed assets due to an incomplete list as the city treasurer waits on the police department and fire department to complete their very detailed lists.
Commissioners approved the final budget adjustments of the fiscal year. According to Michael Ann Antonucci most of the adjustments are line item transfers to zero out the end of the year on grants and other funds. (Link to Year end Budget Adjustment FY16)
The fourth quarter financial report was also approved with Antonucci noting that all income from taxes were below budget and down at 5.28%. She also noted that general fund expenses were down by 9.78%. Antonucci noted that if the GRT continues to fall short they will have to visit with DFA because those figures should reflect the construction projects that are in progress around Raton or finished up like McDonalds. (Link to June 2016 Financial Report)
The final budget was approved and will be sent to DFA soon. The only concern at this time is health insurance premium rates. They are expected to go up but by how much is still unknown as the city is still negotiating those costs. (Link to 105th Raton NM Fiscal Budget)
Commissioners approved an MOU with the Raton Schools for a school resource officer. The grant that pays for the officer has been extended and the MOU is to meet those grant requirements.
City Manager Scott Berry noted that the repaving projects on the downtown avenues is progressing with milling on Apache and Cook being completed. Tiger Drive is closed with the milling there being completed on Tuesday and paving will begin on Wednesday and Thursday. Stripping will take place next week.
The multi-modal center is progressing but completion maybe delayed due to the welcome or in the construction process unwelcome rains that have muddied the parking area and delayed the paving process.
The Troy Street fire department is nearing completion as the FD will get bids for parking lot paving. They are also working on phone systems and alarm systems as well.
Berry noted that the Great Blocks project will be about $1 million dollars and they are seeking different funding sources such as the NM State MainStreet. The engineering and architectural studies are all done and it is a shovel ready project.
Berry told commissioners that the Tiger 8 grant was turned down. The only good side is no matching funds will have to be expended.
Berry noted that the transfer station will not accept construction and demolition debris as he noted there will likely be a lot due to the roofing work that should begin in the near future. The city had been charging $10 a cubic yard but is finding the costs to handle that type of waste is now reaching $60 a cubic yard. He also cautioned homeowners to check up on the contractors doing the roofing work and make sure they are licensed to work in New Mexico.
Commissioners will meet again on August 9, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. in the commission chambers.