By Marty Mayfield
The first item on the agenda Tuesday evening was the audit report by Alan Bowers from RPC which was fairly short due to the fact that the audit was considered a clean audit.
Bowers, who joined the meeting via a conference call, went over some of the figures for the city books as compared to those in past years and he concluded with the fact that the audit was a clean one and as Mayor Mantz stated it was done on time as well.
Commissioners then moved on to committee reports and the regular business portion of the meeting with the approval of the minutes and the financial report. Michael Anne Antonucci noted that the city was working about 3% below budget and that gross receipts taxes were again up by 7.18% over what had been budgeted. (Link to the Jan 2017Financial Report001)
Commissioners approved the purchase of a wildland fire truck. The low bid went to Phil Long Ford for $49,553 which Fire Chief Jim Mathews noted left the department with enough money to equip the truck for wildland use. The funds for the purchase come from reimbursement or payments for the wildland fires the department helps with.
Commissioners approved the resolution to apply for Municipal Arterial Program or MAP funds for fiscal year 2017-2018. The MAP monies will be used to rework Hospital Drive. They also applied for Coop Funds for other street improvements such as chip sealing Pecos, Galesteo and Apache Avenues. Due to the timeline of the funding process these funds probably won’t be available until fall so the work probably won’t be done until the spring or summer of 2018.
The City is requesting $150,000 for the MAP project and $100,000 for the coop funding. However, Berry noted that the city will be lucky to see $50-$60,000 of the coop funds. The city will match the state funds with gas tax money with the state funding 75% and the city portion being 25%.
Commissioners also approved a resolution opposing HB-174. This bill proposes to move all elections to the November election thus creating more efficiency in the process. The New Mexico Municipal League however feels that municipal elections bonds and such could easily get lost in the added issues on the ballot therefore they feel city elections should be left out of the process and kept as is in March. Also by moving the election process to November the city would be required to pay the county clerk as the election would be taken away from the city clerk. It is also thought by combining all the elections that take place it could cause people to miss important issues on the ballot simply from the confusion of everything that could appear on the ballot. (Link to Res 2017-15 OpposeHB174001)
City Manager Scott Berry then gave a rundown of some of the legislative activities noting that the legislature is looking at ways to cut cost and enhance state revenues. They are also looking at taxing medical services doing away with the hold harmless taxes which could affect eight cities and 19 different counties. There are several other tax questions being looked at as well as diverting some of the gasoline tax to help shore up reserves until the reserves are returned to present levels. The comment on that is isn’t that illegal? Other things they are looking at is sweeping back grant funds for things like solid waste which could greatly affect Raton’s money for drilling a land fill monitoring well that is required by the Environment Department.
The next regular city commission meeting will March 14, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. in the commission chambers.