By Kathleen Sloan
The following actions or discussions occurred at the Truth or Consequences City Commission’s regular meeting, held Tuesday, April 10.
•MainStreet Truth or Consequences, a local division of the national and state-level organization, applied for “a capital outlay grant,” according to Director Linda DeMarino, who owns Happy Belly Deli.
The request was for $60,000, but the organization got $70,000, which will be used to write a master plan for downtown.
DeMarino said the organization will hold “town halls” in September to gather public input.
•Commissioner Steve Green said he noticed the city bought 6,320 tires under state contract. He wondered if those tires could have been purchased locally instead, keeping the income circulating in the area. He asked that a presentation on purchasing processes be made by city staff.
City Manager Juan Fuentes said he will put it on the agenda.
•The city will soon advertise Requests for Proposals for an electrical upgrade to lines and transformers. The project starts at Steel Street and ends at First Street in Williamsburg.
A $400,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) was received from HUD about a year ago. The city turned in a $495,000 grant for the same project in 2010, and reapplied for the same project.
The project will be pared down because of less money. The city did not complete the project within two years the first time.
The city will pay a 10 percent cash match and pitch in another $30,000 from electric department funds, according to Department Head Gil Avelar.
South Central Council of Government’s Tony MacRobert is administering the grant.
•SCCOG’s MacRobert received commission approval to turn in an application to HUD’s same CDBG division to update the city’s comprehensive plan, last done in 2004.
City Manager Fuentes asked city commissioners to e-mail him suggestions that will help define the scope of the update.
MacRobert suggested forming a committee with fewer than 18 members –the number for the 2004 plan– and to keep it simple. He emphasized asset management as a need of focus.
Fuentes will schedule a special meeting next week for commissioners to define the scope of the update.
MacRobert estimates the cost will be between $25,000 and $35,000, and planning engineers will be targeted in the Request for Proposals.
An up-to-date comprehensive plan is required to apply for many federal and state funding sources, including HUD.
•Municipal Judge Beatrice Sanders requested the city be the fiscal agent for a juvenile alternative sentencing program, which she has administered before in this area.
City commissioners approved the request, and Judge Sanders will apply for a $15,000 grant.
She said truancy makes up 75 percent of the 190 referrals she has received in the last six months. Such referrals will be handled by Teen Court.
•Commissioners passed a resolution to destroy 2010 election ballots in 30 days, giving those interested time to review the documents.
•The commission approved Truth or Consequences Police Chief Priscilla Mullins’ request to apply for a Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) grant for $2,500. The money will be used to pay officers overtime June 21-Sept. 30, when traffic violations are heaviest.
•Commissioners approved an electrical change order for the electrical upgrade to the “old armory building.”
The city was awarded a $58,000 grant in 2009, said City Manager Fuentes. That money is mostly expended.
A recent fire inspection determined that $5,336 worth of work needs to be done.
The city will pay $2,472 of that and the grant will pay the rest. The inspection precipitated the change order.
•Commissioner Green asked City Manager Fuentes to pull all lease contracts for equipment and the like, and to examine them for possible lower-rate negotiations since interest rates are falling.
Fuentes said he would.
•City Attorney Jay Rubin reported that the city delivered condemnation/demolition papers to the owners of the Buckhorn Saloon, Jim and Bettie Brannon. Rubin said the Brannon’s had until Friday, April 13, to protest the condemnation. He said a city hearing with the Brannons was scheduled for Wednesday, April 11.
•Commissioner Green asked his fellow commissioners to read the “25 immutable rules for successful tourism,” and to think about how to “brand” the city.
Workshops will be held for public input.
•Mayor John Mulcahy asked commissioners to e-mail their response to public comment to City Manager Fuentes, which Fuentes will then put on the agenda.