By Mary Alice Murphy
The special meeting before Tuesday's Grant County Commission meeting was set to solicit input for the Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan. County Planner Anthony Gutierrez explained that the ICIP is now mandatory for state funding and some other funding sources. "By next year, it will be also mandated for the Colonias and Community Development Block Grant processes. For them, it is not necessarily a requirement to be in the top five. The only requirement is for legislative capital outlay, and the project has to be in the top three."
Bob Wilson, committee chairman for the community trails group, said the group facilitated getting the Continental Divide Trail Gateway designation. "Are the trails on the ICIP?"
Gutierrez said Grant County does not have a trails plan, although Silver City does, and "we've been working with the town to expand the trails. It's not in the ICIP, but we can put it on."
Commission Chairman Brett Kasten noted that Santa Clara and Bayard were working on a trail to link the two towns.
Gutierrez said a plan to expand a trail to Pinos Altos was also being worked on. "We will hold a meeting on the Copper Trails, which is from Santa Clara to Bayard, which has a lot of foot traffic. Silver City has the trails group, but I don't know of a county plan."
"Hopefully, we can integrate it between the town and the county," Wilson said.
"The ICIP requires a lot of work, because it has to have estimates and a good scope of work, as well as identification of possible funding sources," Gutierrez said.
Kasten asked what last year's top five ICIP projects were. Gutierrez did not have the document in front of him, but thought they were the Sheriff's vault, the courthouse, the business and conference center, the fairgrounds and the Fort Bayard reservoir. "I think we've funded several of them and some are completed. A project has to stay on the ICIP while it's under construction."
Interim County Manager Abigail Robinson reviewed the agenda for the regular session. The first items of business will be two public hearings, the first to discuss the proclamation reinstating the extreme or severe drought condition and the approval or disapproval of the proclamation. "Since we put it on the agenda, the USGS drought monitor shows a slight change in drought conditions."
Randy Villa, General Services Director and Fire Management officer, said Gabe Holguin of the Gila National Forest fire management would be at the meeting to give the public a better idea of conditions. "The fire danger has gone from very high to high, so we are still in drought conditions. I also asked Silver City Acting Fire Chief Tim Heidrick to talk about Silver City's restrictions. The Forest Service lifted its restrictions as of this morning at 8 a.m."
Public hearing No. 2 will be discussion regarding an ordinance setting a hearing on the adoption of an ordinance adopting a county hold harmless gross receipts tax and approval or disapproval of the ordinance.
Robinson said the ordinance has been in the clerk's office for public comment. "This is the ordinance that goes along with the resolution calling for a 3/8 gross receipts tax to replace funding lost in the phase out by the state of hold harmless."
Financial Officer Linda Vasquez presented the financial reports. The expenditure report for the period ending in July 7, 2014, beginning with check No. 170754 and ending with check 170943, and encompassing the pay period from June 8-June 21, 2014, showed expenditures of $861,220.44.
"There was nothing unusual in the expenses," Vasquez said.
The general fund, ending May 31, 2014, included revenues year to date of $7,890,547, transfers out of the general fund year-to-date of ($1,558,521), operating expenditures YTD of ($2,896,990), and salaries and benefits YTD of ($5,482,107), leaving a cash balance of $401,894. Projected transfers in were $385,222, projected transfers out of ($389,000), projected revenues of $3,010,536, projected operating expenditures of ($419,635) and projected salaries and benefits ($501,270) left a projected cash balance of $2,487,746, minus the required three-twelfths cash reserve of $2,105,342, leaving a projected surplus of $382,404, as of the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2014. She noted during her county report that she was working on closing the books for the end of the fiscal year, as well as developing the final budget for the 2015 fiscal year, which began July 1, 2014.
The Road Fund projected balance at the end of June was $135,997, minus the required one-twelfth cash reserve of $130,935, leaving a projected surplus of $5,62.
The Corrections Fund has no required cash reserve, and projected cash balance at the end of the year is $57,349.
Under new business, Lisa Jimenez will give an update from the National Center for Frontier Communities, which includes the Nonprofit Resource Group.
WNM Communications will discuss an easement from the county for a 15-foot by 15-foot electronic site at the Faywood Fire Station, which would provide broadband service to about 25 county residents. Villa said a similar easement was done at Thunderbird in the Upper Mimbres.
Cissy McAndrew, Southwest New Mexico Green Chamber executive director, will give a fourth quarter Visitor Center and tourism update.
County Clerk Robert Zamarripa has requested an inventory deletion of 56 voting machines that are no longer in use and are obsolete in the state. "There is probably nothing salvageable except for a bit of aluminum. The landfill will decide if the plastic is recyclable."
A proclamation of Sept. 24-28 as Grant County Fair Days will be considered.
Emily Gojkovich will be appointed to the Food Policy Council
Under contracts, commissioners will approve or disapprove an amendment to a food service contract with Summit for the Detention Center. The price has changed by less than 3 cents per meal, according to a sliding scale. The amendment also extends the term of the contract. Detention Center Administrator Mike Carrillo said the jail has been "pretty satisfied with the service and quality of the food."
Three resolutions will be considered. The first would declare July 14-18 as New Mexico Hunger Week to raise awareness of the hunger issue in the state. A summit in July will discuss the issue. The goal is to have every local government in the state approve the resolution.
The second resolution will approve publication of a notice of intent to adopt the gross receipts tax bond ordinance, allowing the county to seek bonds for infrastructure needs. "We are doing this because of the yearly potential of losing the federal payment in lieu of taxes and other federal funding, as well as losing state funding," Kasten said.
The third resolution will approve the reassignment of members, with Kasten replacing Commissioner Gabriel Ramos on the Transportation Authority Board, and Ramos replacing Kasten on the Grant County Water Commission. Villa is the alternate for the Rural Transit District and the county manager is the alternate for the water commission.
Gutierrez said Loma Verde subdivision road improvement is not on the agenda, but all signatures have been received, so he asked that it be added to the agenda.
After the regular meeting Thursday, commissioners will go into executive session to hold county manager interviews. An additional special meeting has been announced for Friday to go into executive session for additional interviews. The executive session after the work session Tuesday was to come out with an interview agenda.
The next article will cover county reports, beginning with one by Gila Regional Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Brian Cunningham giving an update on the hospital.