Public Comment: Questions & Some Answers

By Kathleen Sloan

HERALD Reporter

The Truth or Consequences City Commission held a regular meeting on Tuesday, April 24. The following public comments were made during the two public comment sessions, the first reserved for items on the agenda, the second unrestricted beyond civility and three-minute time limits.

•John Braxton said he noticed the city was probably going to hold an auction with many bicycles from the police department being sold. He asked it be held after June 19, when he will return to the area. He said he buys and fixes up the bikes and then gives them away to needy youth.

Later in the evening, during regular session, City Manager Juan Fuentes agreed to contact the auctioneer and schedule the event after that date.

•Ron Fenn asked the city to respond to his prior public comments on sign code violations.

“How long do we have to wait for the city to take action against officers, paid employees and elected officials currently violating city codes?” He asked “Why does the city have two code enforcement people on our payroll who have yet to bring one person to the docket?”

He was given no answers.

•Bill Buhler said his daughter owns the building next door to the Buckhorn Saloon. He said she has been unable to rent the building for two years because of its condition. He said a fire in the Buckhorn had to be fought from her roof because so much trash and debris inside the Buckhorn made passage impossible.

•Jerry Englehart asked the city to enforce the sign code that requires political signs to be taken down within 10 days after an election. In particular, he asked that the defenn-d our community signs be removed, which he likened to “Nazi Germany” in their “defaming” quality.

•Audon Trujillo noted the city was to pass a temporary golf course management contract and that the old one had expired three months ago. He said he spoke at the last city meeting about procurement problems. “This is another one.” He said the city retroactively adopting an amendment to the golf course contract and its lapsing “should never happen.”

•Howie Tucker, municipal golf pro and manager, asked when the request for proposals will be advertised (for the second time, since his RFP and another respondent’s were rejected). He asked when a decision would be made on the RFP. Tucker asked why his golf brochure had not been included on the city’s website. He was given no answers.

•City Manager Juan Fuentes replied to Gerald Trumbull’s public comment.

Trumbull had done an Inspection of Public Records request to see the city’s charter through the Secretary of State’s Office to determine who is responsible for getting city utilities to private property lines. Trumbull has been given an estimate of $15,000 from the city to get a sewer line to his property.

Fuentes said the city clerks have researched the city charter many times and none exists. Fuentes said the city did incorporate, however, and a charter is not required by state law, he said.

This reporter has made IPRA requests for the city charter and incorporation papers, and has received none and no definitive response that “these documents do not exist,” as required by the Inspection of Public Records Act.

Fuentes says the incorporation papers are with the county. “They would have handled the election and everything.”

This reporter has a verbal IPRA for that document in with the county, not received by press-time.

Fuentes said a 1991 resolution set the fees for water and sewer extensions, indicating the city is sticking by their claim that Trumbull should pay to get sewer to his property.

•Fuentes answered a question posed by this reporter two weeks ago.

During a special meeting on the solid waste collection center hauling request for proposals, Solid Waste Department Head Leonard Carillo claimed the city owns the trash until it is dumped at a landfill.

Fuentes confirmed that claim.

New Mexico Administration Code says the city can contract out services, such as hauling, but is still responsible for compliance with all waste transfer law.

This means the city will have to carry insurance on the hauled contents or pay for damages, which catch fire about once a year, according to South Central Solid Waste Authority Executive Director Patrick Peck.

The RFP will require the haulers to have insurance, but trash fires and the like will be the city’s liability.


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