By Marty Mayfield
Raton City Commissioners met Tuesday evening August 8 and spent about 45 minutes listening to comments from the public about the proposed new animal ordinance.
The proposed animal ordinance is a living document according to Commissioner Chavez and author Leslie Fernandez who noted that feral cats were not addressed in the ordinance as it wasn’t in the old version or in other city ordinances that the work committee reviewed for the preparation of the new ordinance. Fernandez indicated that she would work on that item and create an amendment to the new ordinance once it is passed. The ordinance will be brought to the commission at the August 22 meeting for approval.
Those who spoke are very much in favor of the ordinance especially the mandatory spay and neuter part of the ordinance as Candace Coleangelo noted that there are dogs next door to her that are chained up and the one female dog is not able to run from breeding males that wonder by. Chaining a dog is one part of the ordinance that according to Fernandez was discussed at length and will have to be dealt with on a case by case basis for exceptions. Jake Brown owner of the Raton Animal Hospital noted that they have had to amputate legs and remove embedded chains from dogs who had been chained up too long.
Kelly Jones noted that Tractor Supply is selling chickens in groups of six and that won’t meet the ordinance limit of five. She also wanted to see the five-chicken limit expanded to at least six and preferably a dozen as some hens don’t lay eggs every day and five just isn’t enough to feed a family of four on a regular basis.
The ordinance will be brought to the commission at the August 22 meeting for approval.
Commissioners approved a proposal to begin work on the railroad depot for site improvements.
They also approved lending the Raton Housing Authority $1000 for a settlement fee. Terry Baca noted that several other housing authorities had sued the Housing and Urban Development Department for underfunding because they were efficient with their money and had built up reserves. The RHA has built up a three-year reserve and as a result were only being funded at 45% instead of the 85% that HUD had funded other authorities. RHA will pay the city back once they receive over $122,000 in the settlement.
Commissioners approved the public celebration permits for Raton Main Street Gate City Music Festival. This year Black Smuggler Winery, Colfax Ale Cellar and Red Door Brewery will be on hand for the music festival.
Commissioner also approved the dispatch agreement with Colfax County for $37,000, the same as last year.
City Manager Scott Berry told commissioner that the top five items on the Capital Improvement plan are;
#1 street improvements, the city currently has 60 miles of roads that they have to take care of. #2 is the Lake Maloya Dam which he noted is a top priority for the State Engineer’s office and the Dam Safety Bureau.
#3 is the replacement of public works vehicles which he noted are seeing more and more major repairs.
#4 includes drainage issues from Moulton to Legion Drive.
#5 replacement of police vehicles, some of the funding for those vehicles will also come from Law Enforcement Funds.
Berry then asked commissioners to approve extra funding for the steel building for the Solid Waste Convenience Center to be relocated out on Hereford Avenue. The increase in funding is for additional doors and hardware for the doors. The change in location Berry noted will be better for getting trucks on the interstate with less time on city streets.
The bid from Northern Mountain Constructors came in over the engineers estimate for the reconstruction of Taxiway “A” and the construction of Taxiway “D”. Berry is hopeful that the city can get some additional funding for Taxiway “A” from the FAA as well as reduce the cost by reducing the taxiway to 35 feet instead of the current 40-foot width. They are also negotiating with Northern Mountain Constructors to reduce their bid as they are already in the area and won’t have the mobilization costs of moving equipment to Raton that was quoted in the bid. Total bid for Taxiway “A” is $727,657 and Taxiway “D” is $506,202 which commissioners approved.
Commissioner Schuster was elected to be the city’s primary voting delegate at the New Mexico Municipal League meeting this month. Mayor Pro-Tem Segotta is in line for the treasurer’s seat this year and will be the secondary delegate.
Berry noted in his report that the ExploreRaton.com web page is coming along nicely and that businesses are learning how to setup profiles on the new Raton App. There is a construction crew doing crack seal on Cedar and Grant Streets this week. The city will begin chip sealing several streets in town next week weather permitting. He told commissioners that the Segerstrom Creek Restoration Project was now complete. The $257,000 project is receiving a lot of help from the recent rains. The replanting at the Multi-Modal Center is complete and they are waiting on the digital film equipment to go into the Shuler Theater and hope that project will be completed this month.
The next regular city commission meeting will be August 22, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. in the commission chambers at City Hall.