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Grant County reports include those from appointed and elected officials

The jail administrator, county planner, fire management officer, treasurer and assessor were among those reporting

Editor's Note: This article concludes the Grant County Board of Commissioners' work session of Tuesday, April 10, and gives county reports.

Mike Carrillo, Grant County jail administrator, gave the first report. He asked for a moment of silence for the death of Andres Silva, former mayor of Deming.

Carrillo's report covers the period between commission work sessions and this one covered March 12-April 8.

He said the detention center continues with the policy and procedures protocols. He announced three temporary vacancies. The jail is having the faulty hot water heater replaced, as well as a faulty sally port door latch.

Department personnel have been fit tested for vests. Training will be a three-tier process, which "I hope will help with retention of officers. It will be one month for new hires." The department is getting all officers up-to-date on their 40-hour certification.

The inmate support system met with groups and is putting together assessment data on those with substance abuse issues. "We are considering partnering with the groups, with the only drawback being they wanted to start in only one city. We want the inmate support system in three counties—Grant, Luna and Hidalgo."

The average daily population in the facility for the report month was 80, six more than last month, with 67 males, eight more than last month and 15 females.

"We're still getting questions about the need for medical clearance in some circumstances," County Manager Jon Paul Saari said. "Sometimes it's above the capability of the jail medical team for certain medical situations, such as an accident."

"I explained to the hospital why the medical clearance was required and the protocols," Carrillo said. "It's a checks and balances. We want to make sure they're OK when we accept them. We make the determination at booking."

The next report was from Road Superintendent Earl Moore. He said his department is getting some roads ready for chip-sealing. He reported his department would receive an additional $27,000 from the state, which would make up for the past several years when his funding kept going down.

"We are starting 10-hour days next week," Moore said. "We will try to get Hurley's roads done and possibly Bayard's. Silver City has also asked for our help."

Commissioner Gabriel Ramos said he was all for taking care of the municipalities, "but they need to give us support, too."

Commissioner Ron Hall said he knows that Moore talks to the citizens and walks with them on problems. "He's out there resolving things."

Saari suggested the Road Department also look at the Tour of the Gila routes. "I'm doing it next week," Moore said.

County Planner Anthony Gutierrez reported he submitted a colonias application for Rosedale Road. "I updated our former request, because the new estimates came in at $50,000 more. It is a phased project that when complete will have cost about $1.6 million."

He attended a Community Block Development Grant workshop. "It was really informative about the process and the criteria they are going to hold us to."

"We probably don't have a project, because we don't have the public participation," Gutierrez said. "The project has to be on the Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan, but the new criteria from CDBG say it cannot be a pre-determined project. We will start a year in advance with surveys and public hearings, I guess. I am going to apply for a planning grant to update our 2004 comprehensive plan. We have a lot of updates to make and will incorporate the Strategic Plan for Economic Development."

He also attended International Economic Development courses in Washington D.C. "It was extremely informative. There were governmental agency heads there and it was surprising to me what's actually available. But it's difficult for us to compete, because the government identifies rural as 250,000 population or less."

He said a lot of international trade is going on. Luna County is developing its port. "A lot of international money wants to come into the U.S. and bring manufacturing. We need to continue working on developing our infrastructure."

Gutierrez said $30 million is available for transportation planning. He wants to do an application for planning on all the county's arterials.

He said he could never attend the Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments Board meetings because they always conflicted with the county meeting, but the COG has changed the time to 10:30 a.m. so he and others can attend.

Fire Management Officer and General Services Director Randy Villa announced the Teen Maze, which was talking place Tuesday and Wednesday at the Grant County Veterans Memorial Business and Conference Center, hosted by the County DWI Program.

He reported Corre Caminos filled two positions. "We had the DOT come down. They said all the buses are white and they don't show up."

"We are working on putting transits together to go from Silver City to Deming and Lordsburg and on to Las Cruces," Villa said.

Public Works is working on the fields at Bataan Memorial Park and building the steps Commissioner Ramos asked for. "We are also working on the sprinkler system at the Courthouse and the air-conditioners. We have an emergency plan at the airport."

He said there are problems with the restrooms at Bataan Park, because in the winter the department shuts off the water, but people still break in and use the toilets, which don't flush. "Maybe we need a septic tank."

"Public Works is making sure the conference center is ready for graduation parties," Villa said. "We're booked solid. We already have a booking in January 2015. The guys at Public Works are coming in on weekends to clean and take out the trash, so it's ready for the next event."

He said the Senior program was going well, although some facilities need stoves or walk-in freezers.

"In the fire departments, 90 percent of the firefighters took the refresher course," Villa continued. "I would like to thank the Fire Marshal's office for the training. Hopefully, we will get the ISOs down."

Commission Chairman Brett Kasten noted that it also lowers residents' insurance premiums.

"We had a grass fire in Fierro, and the Santa Rita Volunteer Fire Department got it under control," Villa said. "I'm talking to Gabe Holguin, the Forest Service fire officer, and Doug Boykin of New Mexico Forestry daily. I'm telling people not to burn on windy days. It is so dry and volatile. We don't want another Quail Ridge Fire. I talked with Wind Canyon and they are taking care of their WUI (wildland-urban interface).

Kaste said the commission needs to put in a notice of intent to let the manager and the fire management officer put in fire restrictions if needed.

"Abby (Robinson, county attorney), Randy and I have been talking about it," Saari said. "We'll have the ordinance ready for the next set of meetings. If conditions change drastically, we can call a meeting to create an emergency ordinance."

Kasten asked if it could be done annually. Robinson said it could be done long term.

Villa said he reaches out to Silver City, the Forest Service and state Forestry. "Only the state public lands are under restrictions. I look to the three to help me decide. It's a domino effect."

"Every year, we get in a hurry about fireworks," Kasten said. Robinson said she had it on the calendar for the annual ordinance, just in case.

"People will use fireworks anyway, but we want to make sure they're liable," Kasten said.

Villa asked residents, if they were going to burn, to let their fire chiefs and Dispatch know about it.

"We're working together to educate the public," Villa said.

Hall asked about Corre Caminos routes to Gila and Cliff. "We're waiting to determine what works best," Villa said. "We're working on a questionnaire to give to people out there."

Gutierrez said, although the Viva Santa Rita subdivision improvement district would be approved at the Thursday meeting, "Loma Verde still wants to know what's going on. There was a parcel that was split on a cul-de-sac, but there's not really a cul-de-sac there. We could potentially have a variance required. We will try to get approval for the dedication within two weeks."

Dolores Dominguez, ordinance officer, said she thought it was something that Gutierrez and Moore could work on for a resolution.

"Instead of a cul-de-sac, we can do an L-shaped or K-shaped turnaround on a single property," Gutierrez said. "I want to publicly thank Dori for all her work. It's humbling all the knowledge she has."

Undersheriff Kevin Flamm said he was filling in while the sheriff was in training. "I did not have time to pull the statistics. Last Thursday we were at the Detention Center trying on vests that we need to replace. With summer coming on, we're getting busier, and it will get even busier."

Saari said the grant for interagency cooperation was temporarily suspended.

"I got more phone calls on that issue than any other program," Kasten said.

Ramos asked that someone do community service to clear up the road between Bayard and Hurley.

"We're working with the JPPO (Juvenile Probation and Parole Office) and will do the clean up again," Flamm said.

Hall asked if more patrols were on Cottage San Road after the flashing lights issue, to which Flamm replied yes.

Treasurer Steve Armendariz reported he attended the Treasurers' Affiliate legislative planning meeting. "We are trying to work out the differences in the legislation that stalled last year. The Property Tax Division is confused. We want any payments for taxes delinquent for less than two years to revert to the counties. The Property Tax Division did not support reverting."

He said his office sent out 926 delinquent notices, which was to 826 taxpayers, some with multiple properties. The 926 is 4 percent of the total property owners. "We had 70 returned notices for incorrect addresses. If we don't collect for 10 years, the state says the bill is considered paid. We lost $80,000 for 2003. We need to fix the statute."

He said his office collected $86,000 in county tax payments this month.

Assessor Mary Guthrie invited property owners to one of two informational meetings where she and deputy assessor, Eric Morales, will answer questions about the Notice of Value that most owners should have received. The meetings will take place on Monday, April 14, from noon to 1 p.m. or 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Grant County Administration Center.

Clerk Robert Zamarripa announced absentee voting and early voting would begin May 6. Voter registration also closes that day. "The absentee ballot form is on the website, grantcountynm.com or you can call our office at 575-574-0042 or mail in a request for one. Early voting will begin in Bayard on May 17 with the polls open Tuesday-Saturday. My office will be open Monday through Friday for early voting."

Saari said the county was going to try to do electronic agendas, adding items as they are submitted. "We are receiving a demonstration today for a product that would allow the electronic agendas and would archive the packets."

"This morning all our computers said they were no longer supported," Armendariz said.

"Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows XP, but there are no security issues," Saari said. "It's budget time, Linda (Vasquez) and I will set up meetings with the directors. We'll work on the budget next work session. We want the preliminary budget done to send by the first of June. Mary Guthrie gives us an excellent estimate. She was right on the nose last year."

Saari said PILT (payment in lieu of taxes) was funded this year, but "who knows about next year. We still budget conservatively, because increases are coming for salaries on July 1, according to the union contract. Most employees will receive 1 percent raise, and 1½ percent for law enforcement. We want to put law enforcement training as a permanent position. It helps on liability. The Sheriff is also asking for more vehicles and equipment.

Kasten asked for a timeline on the budget.

"The preliminary budget will be sent in by June 1, and the final by July 31,"Saari said. "Last year we cut back on what we gave the extension service, and the state didn't fund them as much, because of an empty agent position. That position has been filled. They have asked for more funding because of the new agent, who is working with kids."

Saari said a public hearing on the budget would be held at the next work session, April 22.

Hall announced an Arizona Water Settlements Act public meeting starting at 4 p.m. Monday, April 14, at Cliff High School

Ramos thanked everyone for running the county so well. "I have been approached by (Santa Clara) Mayor (Richard) Bauch asking for our support for the village to have a sewer authority, because he wants to use some of the wastewater. He already has support from Hurley."

Ramos also asked Gutierrez to have the county GIS personnel talk to the Forest Service GIS folks to combine the GIS information for the eco-watershed group.

Commissioners then went into executive session.

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