During the Grant County Commission work session, county officials gave reports and updates.
Detention Center Administrator Mike Carrillo gave the first report. He said updates to the policy and procedures had been completed and sent to the state for approval. Detention Center officers had a chance to look at and try on uniforms that would be compliant with bulletproof vests. "We will have a must wear policy, required for the bulletproof vest grant, so I wanted to make sure the uniforms fit and were comfortable."
Carrillo said the center has openings for two temporary detention officers. A recent assessment recommended changes, which may require one or two more people, including one for permanent records. The center is having training requests from personnel, which has been spurred by interest in being part of the administration of the facility, he said.
Mandatory and refreshing trainings will be provided to the jail's personnel by Luna County at no cost, except for transportation and possible overtime costs.
"This morning a gang training is taking place," Carrillo said. "We were expecting 40 participants. We will also do a workshop on gangs for parents, teachers and other community members."
The jail continues development of inmate support, including trying to get the reintegration program going. Carrillo said the recognition program is going well, with many employees being nominated.
He reported the daily highs for June at 78 males and 17 females. Twenty-six inmates were sentenced and 116 were non-sentenced. Inmates spent more than 23,000 hours of incarceration.
General Services Director and Fire Management Officer Randy Villa said the Senior Program was working on contracts. He also reported the agency wants to get rid of several vehicles, because they are being vandalized at the Silver Street Complex. The DWI Program had a vehicle parked at the Silver Street Complex, which was also vandalized.
He reported the new Corre Caminos facility had leaking problems, and that Public Works Director Justin Reese had been busy installing new air-conditioners at the courthouse and address lots of leaks in county buildings. Phase 3 of runway improvements are continuing at the Grant County Airport.
"We are working on the Wildland Fire Protection Plan, with some funding from the New Mexico Association of Counties," Villa said. "I think we will have better stability with these departments I am overseeing."
Commissioner Gabriel Ramos asked about the restrooms at Bataan Park and why they were not functioning. County Manager Jon Paul Saari said the toilet valves had calcified and once they were replaced everything worked.
Villa said he wants a schedule of staff duties, so he can review and re-review it. "The facilities are running out of supplies. We need them ready for rent." Saari requested an on-call schedule for maintenance for Villa.
"We have resolved the issue with backups of employees," Villa said. "We have in place someone checking before, after and during, if need be, events at our facilities."
Road Superintendent Earl Moore said it took his personnel four days to open Bill Evans Road after a washout.
"All blades are running," he reported. "If you tell us about a washout, we'll get on it. If it's ruts and mud, stand in line."
Saari said he would be meeting with Freeport McMoRan to get verbal approval for a land exchange for a fire station at Hanover and the new road to the Hanover cemetery.
Moore pointed out Tyrone needs handicap-accessible ramps—80 of them. "I hope we get some grant money." His personnel leveled a spot at Redrock for a transfer station.
Commissioner Ron Hall asked if the department had had any problems with debris blocking culverts.
"Yes, on Bill Evans Road," Moore said. "It was too muddy to get in."
County Planner Anthony Gutierrez reported on a public meeting at Mimbres with the Burned Area Emergency Response Tem and other agencies, including the Forest Service and the National Weather Service.
"The BAER Team finished the assessment on the southern part of the burned area, but had not completed it on the northern part," Gutierrez said. "Information on flood insurance was given out, including that two structures are in the flood plain. The agencies gave out a lot of information on what the residents could expect. The Weather Service said the monsoon had been better than normal on the Arizona border."
He said his office has received a lot of calls about the flood insurance. "Last year people could bypass the 30-day requirement, but for this fire, the BAER team report has to be sent to FEMA for approval first. After that, go on and apply. We got questions about flood mitigation, but the county is limited in what it can do. The Natural Resources Conservation Services assist people with berms and such. Our office is the filter for resources."
On a different topic, Gutierrez said he did a personal inspection at the Cliff-Gila County Fairgrounds and that the footers and columns were up. "The building came in last week, but the contractor is behind schedule, because it's been too wet to pour concrete. The facility should be complete by the end of August."
As a member of the Interstate Stream Commission Arizona Water Settlements Act Advisory Input Group, he reported that the ISC is expediting processes and studies. Contractors have been hired in order to have most of the information by January for the legislative session.
"We are looking for funds for the courthouse, but it needs to be historic in the Federal Register," Gutierrez said. "We are competitive for funds through the state."
He sent staff members to GIS training, so a lot of information can be put on GIS maps, and "we need to make sure county roads are identified on the maps."
He said the North Hurley contractor was ready to go. "We weren't awarded Community Development Block Grant funding. I think we can apply for planning money to update our comprehensive plan."
Ramos asked if CDBG funding could be used for trails. "There is planning money for open space and trails," Gutierrez replied. "We might change the focus and look for CDBG funding for ADA compliance."
To a question from Commission Chairman Brett Kasten about the area's CDBG representative, Gutierrez said there has been a "huge turnover of project managers." Saari concurred and said in the past five years, the county has had 15 different project managers.
"Our past two applications have been unique," Gutierrez said. "The county was applying for other municipalities and not necessarily on something we own."
Kasten asked about an update on the Infrastructure Capital Improvements Plan. Saari said it is not a requirement for application, but projects won't be funded without it.
Sheriff Raul Villanueva reported 399 calls for service in June, with 145 reports generated. "We are doing training locally with in-house trainers. Crime is up. Youths need to be busy doing constructive things."
Ramos said the bond issue would provide facilities to keep youths busy.
Treasurer Steve Armendariz said all liens on solid waste fee delinquencies have been filed. Letters have been sent, but only 10 percent have paid.
"In May we sent out 600 delinquencies of property tax payments," Armendariz said. "Of the $674,000 owed, we have collected $230,000, a much higher rate than the solid waste delinquencies. I'm not sure why people are not concerned about them. He has sent a list of about $400,000 in delinquencies to the state."
He said some concern has come up about what constitutes delinquency. It has been two years, but "we took them off the list, if they started making payments. Once it is on the state list, the county gets the tax, but the state keeps the penalties and interest. We are asking for an attorney general opinion. The counties thought if there were partial payments, they were no longer delinquent for two years. The state decided the payments needed to keep the tax until the property owner was 100 percent caught up."
The New Mexico Association of Counties is working on getting an AG opinion, with the idea of keeping as much as possible at the local level.
Armendariz said returned mail has lessened, since addresses have been corrected. "Most people don't realize that a change of address at the post office doesn't trickle down to us. People must also change their addresses at the Clerk's and Assessor's offices."
Assessor Mary Guthrie said two appraisers are working in the Bayard area and are identified by their badges. "Misty Trujillo is continuing her training to be a certified assessor."
Clerk Robert Zamarripa said the ballots for the gross receipts tax bond issue will be at the post office ready to mail on July 29. "We are also looking for a large scanner to put older books in to scan them before they deteriorate."
Ramos reported the 15-16 year old Cobre softball girls would be traveling to Vidalia, Lousiana, for regional tournaments. "The 11-12 year-old girls are also very strong, as are the 15-16 year-old boys. A Silver team is also strong. It will be tough to raise enough to send all of them."
"We need as much help on the bond issue as possible," Ramos said. "We need projects to keep kids busy. Please support the bond issue."
Hall echoed the sentiment and said it was important for voters to look into the issue and understand it. "There will be two forums next week. Go and ask questions."
He said detox is very complicated, but it is important to get it going. "Something I think the county should support is that Cliff-Gila is looking at a recreation center."
Hall also cautioned people to take flood warning seriously. "There are rocks and debris on 152. You've got to be careful."
Kasten thanked the staff for good, substantive reports.
He said he as been in contact with the Secretary of General Services about Fort Bayard.
"We want to bond out projects," Kasten said. "Youth centers are coming up on the list. We are also working toward not using non-recurring funding for recurring expenses."
The next article will cover the regular meeting on Thursday, July 18.