By Jim Owen
The Bayard City Council, during its regularly scheduled meeting Monday afternoon, voted to take out a $109,000 loan to pay the community's share of a major water project.
Most of the cost is being covered by the federal and state governments. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently awarded an $837,600 grant, and the state Legislature has approved $234,000 in appropriations, for the project.
The work is to involve the replacement of all Bayard residents' home water meters with devices that can be monitored remotely and automatically. City employees who have been going around town to read meters every month will be assigned other duties.
A second component of the project will be removing a 4-inch water main, and installing in its place an 8-inch line, along Hurley Street near the railroad tracks. The goal is to improve the flow of water, in terms of volume and pressure, to the northeastern portion of the city.
In other business, councilors approved the summer lunch program. It is being held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. weekdays at Fire Station Park. Lunches are served free of charge to all children who attend.
In conjunction with the lunch program, the city is sponsoring a summer reading program. Hands-on educational activities, arts and crafts, and reading sessions are taking place from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at the municipal library. Many of the children go straight from there to the park for lunch.
No fees are charged for the reading program, which is open to all pre-teens. On Tuesday, the first day of the program, 40 kids participated. While the number is expected to fluctuate, city staffers were pleased with the initial turnout.
For the third straight year, teacher Elisha Garcia is coordinating the program. It is expected to continue until at least the end of June.
Councilor and Mayor Pro Tem Chon Fierro, acting in the absence of Mayor Charles Kelly, presented proclamations congratulating Cobre High School's band and baseball team. Each group of students recently won a state championship. In recognition of the musicians capturing their 15th state title, the council declared June as Cobre High School Band Month.
Councilors also praised the girls' high school softball team, which qualified for this year's state tournament.
On another matter, the council agreed to pay the expenses of Councilor Armando Arzola and city Wastewater Director David Chavez to attend a one-day meeting of the New Mexico Municipal League Policy Committee later this month in Albuquerque. Chavez has been selected to serve as a member of the committee.
Councilors voted to promote patrol officer Joe Sierra to the position of corporal in the city's Police Department.