by Marty Mayfield
RATON — Raton City Commissioners met at City Hall January 12, 2021 for their first regular meeting of the new year to handle city business and a closed session for collective bargaining with the Raton Firefighters Local 2378.
Commissioners took care of some regulatory items by approving the public meetings policy, designating official custodians of record for each entity in city government.
Commissioners then approved the introduction of changes to the city ordinance chapter 90 which deals with animals and more specifically 90.250 to deal with dangerous dogs. Changes to the ordinance include striking the $150 registration for dangerous dogs and instead including language to require owners of dangerous dogs to retain special liability insurance or a $100,000 surety bond to cover any possible incidents with the dogs. The ordinance also defines what a dangerous dog is. The commission will receive public input before voting on the final adoption of the ordinance at a later meeting.
Commissioners approved the reappointment William Daily and by request from the labor unions the appointment of Sarah Kowalski to the Labor Management Relations Board.
Commissioners also approved the purchase of six police vehicles from Phil Long Ford on the State Purchasing agreement. The purchase total is $312,386.99, of which $226,525.00 will come from capital outlay money that was requested last year and finally received in December. An additional $16,603 will come from the vehicle line item and $69,258.99 will come from the general fund surplus. Police Chief John Garcia noted that this purchase is coming none to soon.
Nancy Poe addressed the commission requesting the city to look at the purchase of electric vehicles. She noted that electric vehicles are more cost effective saving as much as $6,000 per year on maintenance. She added they last longer as they come with fewer moving parts and will cut 14,000 pounds of CO2 from the air. Berry noted that Phil Long Ford doesn’t have any electric vehicles on the state contract for the city to purchase. He noted it will be something the city will look at in the future.
Commissioners approved the application for additional funding from CYFD for the Girls Circle and Restorative Justice program. The request is for $66,000 for the Girls Circle and $30,195 for the Restorative Justice program. The city administers those grant monies and will receive 5% of the total for administrative fees.
The city will also apply for $300,000 in Capital Outlay funds to restore the Coors Building on First Street to be used for a lending Toy Library. Funding for the current one that was being run in Colfax County has run out, and Mayor Pro-Tem Lindé Schuster and Geoff Peterson at the Center for Innovation have taken on the project. Commissioner Lori Chatterley was concerned about splitting capital money too thin with all the building projects on the plate, but commissioner Ronald Chavez and Schuster both pointed out it doesn’t hurt to ask.
In the November 2020 financial report, City Treasurer Michael Anne Antonucci noted that the GRT came in above budget by 1.83% with the help of late season construction leaving the city with $1,987,379 in cash reserves.
Budget Adjustment #5 includes several line items including adjustments to cover the police vehicle purchases and money from NMFA for an ambulance loan. It also covers grant reimbursements to close out some of the completed grant projects.
City manager Scott Berry noted in his report that the upcoming legislative session will be one of those difficult ones as there will be no face-to-face meetings with legislators. He has delivered the city’s capital outlay requests to the legislature. He did note that there will be ways to watch the session online from the New Mexico Legislative web page, and there will be a way to sign up for zoom meetings with legislators.
He also noted the Shuler project is complete, with the Shuler Restoration committee doing some other work in the theater. The Great Blocks project is close to complete with some street lighting to be finished along with landscaping and irrigation work to finish it off this spring.
Commissioners will meet again on January 26 for their next regular meeting.