Editor's Note: This is part 2 of the Grant County Commission regular meeting held Feb. 27.
Next on the Grant County Commission agenda was Loma Verde Subdivision representative Lonnie Sandoval. "I spoke to (County Manager) Jon (Paul Saari). What steps are next?"
Grant County Planner Anthony Gutierrez said the next step is to accept the roads dedication. "Get with (Ordinance Officer) Dori (Dominguez). We should have it on the next county agenda. There will be several plats to sign. It will still be several months before construction."
"We understand," Sandoval said. "I appreciate the work from Jon and the attorney for all the letters and calls to get the last signature. Who knew he would be out of town for six months?"
Commissioner Ron Hall nominated Scott Terry, Silver City-Grant County Chamber of Commerce president, to be the tourism member on the Lodgers' Tax Committee. He was approved.
Commissioners also approved the volunteer fire department annual reporting to the New Mexico Public Employment Retirement Association for Cliff-Gila Volunteer Fire Department, Fort Bayard VFD, Lower Mimbres VFD, Pinos Altos Volunteer Fire and Rescue, Santa Rita VFD, Sapillo Creek VFR, Tyrone VFR, Upper Mimbres VFR, and Whiskey Creek VFR. The volunteers pay nothing, but the departments put in funding on their behalf.
Approved was an inventory transfer of a 2004 Chevy Blazer from the Assessor's Office to the Public Works Department.
March 14, 2014 was proclaimed Salt of the Earth Day to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the film. Manny Maldonado accepted the proclamation and said the House and Senate had unanimously passed proclamations. On March 15, activities will include a tour of the old Empire Zinc Mine and the town of Hurley. Maldonado said Juan Chacon's granddaughter would provide music. The events begin at 10 a.m. at the Local 890 building in Bayard.
Commissioner Gabriel Ramos thanked Maldonado for his work in the community as president of chapter 2516 and as a coach.
The next agenda item was a presentation by Mimbres Film LLC. Commission Chairman Brett Kasten said he had invited future Silver City Mayor Michael Morones to hear the presentation, so the county and town could work together.
Mike Barragree and Glenn Tolhurst said they attended the town hall meeting on the film industry. "We decided we would like to participate," Barragree said. "We formed Mimbres Film LLC, with the purpose of signing up private landowners for filming sites. We will send the list to the state. We discovered although the New Mexico Film Office has film liaisons in most counties, it did not have one representing Southwest New Mexico, comprised of Grant, Catron, Luna and Hidalgo counties. We have received letters of support from Luna County, Hidalgo County and Deming to name us as the liaison and assistant liaison. In conversations with Catron County, it seems to be a go. We are requesting letters of endorsement for the liaison designation from Grant County and Silver City for us to be named as film liaison.
Barragree said it was the first step, with six more steps to go. "We will meet with the economic development folks this afternoon. We want the film industry to give our area a look, have a good time and want to come back again and again."
Hall asked if they had any experience in the film industry or a business plan.
"We have a business plan, but are short on film experience," Barragree said. "Glenn is a photographer and my son lives in Santa Fe and has been in several films there. We do what we say we will do."
"We will be instruments of communication between the area and the Film Office," Tolhurst said. "They get 20 percent tax incentives and 40 percent, if they hire veterans. We are primarily location scouts. We've been bui lding a library of photos."
Ramos said it would be good to have representatives from the area. "Are there any legalities?"
County Attorney Abigail Robinson said she would need to look into it.
"I think we have the legal right," Kasten said. "The old Coalition for Progress was the film liaison at that time."
Morones asked if it were a letter supporting the nomination or a contract with the two.
"I don't think it's a contract," Tolhurst said. "As a business, what we envision is that we can train people to replace us."
"If we give you a letter, how will you report back to us?" Kasten asked.
"At your discretion," Barragree said. "We have an example of a letter from the Film Office."
"No disrespect to you, but I would ask for staff to look at it," Hall said.
A resident asked if the organization planned to network with the Western New Mexico University Creative Arts Department or New Mexico State University's film program.
"What we're going to try to do is use every resource available to us," Tolhurst said. "If there are casting or crew calls, we will let media know."
Morones asked if the group's accounts would be open to public inspection.
"We would serve as liaison as volunteers and have the business as location agents," Tolhurst said. "Mike would be the liaison, with me as assistant."
Hall said the commission would look at the information and make a decision.
Heidi Ogas gave the annual High Desert Humane Society report. "We received $2,645 in impoundment fees and $8,486 in county licensing fees. The numbers are about the same as last year. Animal Control responded to 544 complaints."
"I would like to see more licensing for spayed and neutered pets," Ogas said. "The number of intakes of cats has gone down more than the dogs. I would have liked to have seen it go down more.
"2013 was our 40th anniversary and we set as out goal to raise $40,000," Ogas said. "We raised $44,000 for spay and neuter assistance. The money will go back into the community for the assistance. In March, we will promote Stop the Madness or Beat the Heat. We will issue coupons up to $85 toward a spay."
County Manager Jon Paul Saari said he sees from the statistics that a lot of people turn in dogs they don't want any more. "There seems to be a need for education."
"We often discourage adoptions," Ogas said. "We want to make sure a family can take care of the animal. Some people get dogs from those who illegally breed. With us, you get a package for $60 to $100 that includes shots and the spay or neuter. Too many 'free' dogs cost $200 and up for the spay or neuter and the shots.
"It would be nice to have Silver City, Grant County and the other municipalities to have more in their ordinances to discourage illegal breeding and hoarding," Ogas continued.
Hall said that too often there was no penalty that could be assigned to an infraction.
"Creating a new ordinance is overwhelming," Ogas said. "We could help you look at your ordinance a section at a time. The way licensing is done is ridiculous and could be simplified."
Kasten asked Ogas if she believes the ordinance was so lacking it should be thrown out.
"We have rewritten ordinances," Ogas said. "Some are outdated and need to provide for humane treatment of animals. The ordinances are lacking."
Robinson said she has copies of ordinances, which are just one piece of the problem. Code enforcement, she said, is another piece.
"We'll get a committee together with a deadline and get with you," Kasten said.
"I also want to say the High Desert Humane Society has an emergency evacuation plan," Ogas said. "It's not to get the animals out of the shelter but to take in animals evacuated from homes. We had three mock events. We are prepared and ready to take in 150 animals within hours."
Ramos said he had used the spay-and-neuter coupons and adopted a cat from the shelter.
"Remember, in March, we will add $20 to a spay-or-neuter assistance coupon. Spread the word," Ogas concluded.
Commissioners next approved the Whiskey Creek Volunteer Fire Department funding application.
The next article will address continuing agenda items, including several for the DWI program.