By Charlie McKee
Silver City Mayor James Marshall kicked off the Tuesday evening, August 13, 2013, Town Council meeting by thanking the members of his Climate Protection Agreement Citizens Advisory Committee for their efforts and contributions to the Town since the committee's inception in 2007.
Marshall recognized each member who served on the committee in the past five and a half years with a Certificate of Appreciation. They are: Christopher Aquino, Jason Burke, Mary Beckworth, Peter Burrows, Sam Costello, Cynthia Coleman, Alex Corondoni, Connie Downard, Frank Drysdale, Gary Edwards, Shelby Hallmark, Richard Earnhardt, James Goodkind, Jeffrey Hill, Debaura James, William Joseph, Deborah Kelly, Jim Kerstetter, Kelly Kindig, Cosette Laperruque, Sharman Apt Russell, Allison Siwik, Gail Simmons, John Song, Denise Smith, Mary Stoecker, Nick Sussillo, and Linda Thompson. Marshall also recognized Town Manager Alex Brown for his contribution to the success of the committee.
Marshall asked the committee members to present to the audience, if they had any comments. Nick Sussillo, Director of the Town's Office of Sustainability, acknowledged the "passing of the torch" from the committee to the Sustainability Office and announced that he would be transitioning to volunteer status. The committee's mission and goals have been adopted by the Office of Sustainability and have thus become an official and integral part of the Town of Silver City, allowing the dissolution of the committee. Linda Thompson then spoke to thank the Mayor for his continuous support of the committee throughout the years of their effort to build a cohesive resiliency and sustainability plan for the Town, stating that they had "come a long way from the days when the words 'climate change' generated fear" in many people.
In the Councilor Comments section of the Town Council meeting, Councilor Cynthia Bettison made note of the outstanding artistic contribution to the Town in the two youth murals just completed and dedicated: the Penny Park Mural and the 12th Street Bridge Mural. Both were projects of the Mimbres Region Arts Council (MRAC) Youth Mural Project and were spearheaded by Diana Ingalls-Leyba. Bettison also thanked Lee Gruber, Director of the 2013 Silver City Clay Festival, held July 27 through August 4, for her major contribution to the Town and the Silver City area with an "economic development event."
During the Reports portion of the meeting, Captain Ray Aaltonen of New Mexico Game and Fish reported on the progress of the organization's deer population reduction project, which has been in effect since 2009. The goals of the project are to minimize the number of traffic accidents involving deer within the town limits, as well as to reduce the attraction of deer predators (i.e. lions and bears) into the town. Statistically, the goal is to reduce the deer population by 600 to 700. Since June 2012, the deer population has been reduced by 172. Sixty-four were killed by request on private property and sold as meat to low-income families; and the remainder were trapped and transplanted to forest areas. The latter are monitored to determine mortality rates after transplant. No action has been taken since May of this year, and further population reduction efforts will not be undertaken until after hunting season.
A Public Hearing was then held regarding Resolution No. 2013-30 for Street Vacation #SV13-01 to vacate part of the Town's 31st Street right-of-way. The request was made by owners of the adjacent property, Hal and Ollie Sontag, who wish to sell their property. The lenders to the potential buyers of the property are requiring the Town's vacation of this property to allow unrestricted access to the garage and greenhouse on the property. The Sontags would purchase the land from the Town. During the Planning Department's presentation, the point was clarified that the Town would retain ownership of the sidewalk on the property and would be able to reconstruct it and/or expand it. The Council then voted to approve the resolution.
After the Public Hearing, the Council approved the following items:
• Ordinance No. 1223 – Amendment to the Town's Municipal Code (Chapter 2, Article II (Elections), Sections 2-53 and 2-29) to align the Code with the State of New Mexico's election code, allowing a single polling place in the event of uncontested candidate elections with no ballot questions.
• Two Public Celebration Permits for the Gila River Festival's "Gala for the Gila" Fundraiser Dance to be held on September 21, 2013, in the Murray Hotel Ballroom.
• Agreement between the Town of Silver City and the Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments (COG) for Fiscal Year 2013 to 2014. The Council also approved the appointment of Town Manager Alex Brown as the public official member of the COG, with Councilor Bettison as Alternate #1 and Peter Peña, Public Works Director, as Alternate #2.
• Bid #12/13-14, which awards the Santa Rita Street Drainage and Roadway Improvements project to Burn Construction, Inc. of Las Cruces as the lowest bidder at $113,113 base bid. $72,000 of the funding will be from grant monies, with additional funding sought from other sources. If additional funding can be obtained, the project will include new sidewalks, which have already been included in the design.
The meeting was then adjourned.