By Marty Mayfield
Raton City Commissioners met Tuesday evening, July 25th in the commission chambers to deal with a lengthy agenda as Commissioners approved a lease agreement with Amtrak and a deed of easement with Amtrak for use of the RatonTrain Depot. City Manager Scott Berry noted that with over 15,000 passengers through Raton each year that it is important to have that in place to help service those passengers.
Commissioners started the business part of the meeting began with a report by Laura Brewer on the progress the Northside Neighborhood Watch Program has made in cleaning up the area north of I-25. Brewer noted in her program that they had worked hard to make the neighborhood look good by getting with neighbors and addressing problems and had put one probation violator in jail due to his neglected property. Brewer is also hoping to be able to better use the abandoned vehicle ordinance to help clean up some abandoned cars that have cluttered up the area.
Commissioners then approved the street closures for the Gate City Music Festival and the St Patrick’s St. Joseph’s Annual Fiesta. The Gate City Music Festival will occur over the Labor Day weekend while the Fiesta has changed their dates to the end of September.
Commissioners approved a permit for Bright Rectangle Films, Inc. to film in downtown Raton Saturday morning, July 29. They will be filming scenes for “The Hill and the Hole”. Its a video about a land surveyor that discovers a strange mound near a small town in New Mexico, only to find that the mound and its secrets have in fact found him. The film crews will be filming in Raton early Saturday morning beginning about 5:00 a.m.
Commissioners then opened the floor for public input on the animal ordinance with no response and the Capital Improvement Plan also hearing no response as City Manager Scott Berry went over the top five items on the plan. (Link to Animal Ordinance) (Link to ICIP Report 2017)
Commissioners approved the Raton Water Works final budget adjustment of the year as well as the city’s final budget adjustment. Both adjustments balance out the books for the end of the fiscal year. The June financial report from City Treasurer Michael Anne Antonucci shows an increase of 2.5% in the Gross Receipts Tax collection or just over $67,400. The city will end the fiscal year with a cash balance of $1,762,505.12 and begin the 2018 fiscal year with $1,363,302.62 while holding back a 1/12th reserve of $399,202.50. (Link to Budget Adjustment#16) (Link to June 2017 Financial Rpt)
Final budgets for the City of Raton, Raton Water Works and Raton Public Service were approved and as City Treasurer Michael Anne Antonucci noted the city’s budget is a living document and will change with budget adjustments throughout the year. City Manager Scott Berry highly commended Antonucci’s efforts in getting the budget submitted on time by July 31st to the DFA.
The bid for Taxiway A at the Raton Crews Field Airport was put on hold until the bid for Taxiway D is opened on Thursday. Both bids will be brought back to the commission at the August 8 meeting.
Commissioners approved the Coop agreement pledging matching funds with NMDOT. The $44,815 grant is split at 75/25 with the state portion being $33,611 and the city’s portion at $11,204. These funds will go to chip seal projects on portions of several streets in Raton. They also approved the MAP agreement which totals $200,000 with the state portion at $150,000 and the city matching that at $50,000. These funds will be used for Hospital Drive with primary concern on the big dip. Gas Tax monies will be used as the matching funds and construction is expected to begin in the spring or summer of 2018.
Work continues on the shooting range in the Armory building at the airport, Berry noted that this is the third time that contractors have worked on lead abatement in the room and hopefully the third time is a charm. There will be a group in town doing a tree survey to collect tree data. Friday the contractor will be in town to replace the trees and vegetation that didn’t make it through the winter at the Multi-Modal center, this is warranty work.
Berry noted the school board approved the resource officer and they are looking forward to having that officer in place as the school year begins mid August.
Commissioners will meet again August 8 at 6:00 p.m. for their next regular meeting which will be broadcast on AM 1490 KRTN.