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Town Council Hears Resident Concerns, Discusses Air Service, Names New Fire Chief

By Roger Lanse

Two residents spoke before the Silver City Town Council at its Tuesday, July 22, meeting during the public input portion of the agenda.

One was concerned about a trailer park near Market and Montana streets that was grandfathered in despite the recent passage of more stringent regulations. The concern was that 14 trailers on a half-acre were causing sanitation, safety and noise issues to surrounding residents. "We have 30 plus dogs, 30 plus cars, and no playground for the kids," the speaker told the council. "Do we really want to live with that?" he asked. "I hope the council and the town manager can take another look at that and see what we can do."


A second resident reported about the condition of Starsky Ridge and Ursa Major, stating that litter, trash, used syringes, and bags of Pampers are being left there by motorcyclists, ATVers, and others who use the area as a thoroughfare, in addition to illegal drug activity taking place. "Our residents walk their dogs up there, our kids play there," he said. "July Fourth was the most cars I've ever seen up there. I betcha it took an hour for all the cars to come down. And the next day there was trash, there was bottles, there was cans, there was all kinds of stuff."

The speaker said that last week a drunk driver slammed through a front fence into a neighbor's tractor, and left. "It's getting worse," he said. "There should be restricted access. There should be a chain to restrict access. At the very least, the town could put up signs. I hope something can be done."

District 1 Councilor Cynthia Bettison responded by saying that the Code Enforcement Officer was going to be in that area for most of July for weed abatement, "so I'll take what you said and go forward with that."

District 2 Councilor Lynda Aiman-Smith stated that an open community discussion meeting for her district would be held, as promised in her campaign, Monday, July 28, from 6:30-9 p.m. at Western New Mexico University's Student Memorial Building in the third floor seminar room.

Mayor Michael Morones stated, "There's a lot of bad information (re the new plastic bag ordinance). I'm not going to say it's misinformation, because I don't think it's by accident. But, we have some bad information out there making it sound worse than it is. They're already planting seeds of how it's going to be interpreted that is nowhere near what we're looking at."

George Julian Dworin, executive director of the Silver City Arts and Cultural District, reported that there were increases and decreases in visitation at local tourist sites, while Southwest New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cissy McAndrew told the council that fourth quarter tourism stats increased over the same period last year.

The council reported that Tim Heidrick was selected as the new Silver City Fire Department Chief. Heidrick reported for duty in his new position Monday, July 21.

Town Manager Alex Brown stated that the Federal Aviation Administration, which funds the federal program to supply air service to rural communities, Essential Air Services, was asking for input on routes the community would like to see in and out of Silver City. Comments are due by Aug. 12. Brown said the FAA has issued a Request for Proposals for airline companies to submit proposals for service to and from Silver City. Brown said the FAA makes the final decision, but they want the community's recommendations.

Bettison, Dworin and resident Allen Mong described problems they have had with the current carrier's unreliability in keeping schedules and flights.

McAndrew stated, "What happened then (when Great Lakes Air was selected) was they did not talk to the town. They went to the county commission and it seemed like there was something behind the scenes. We had a meeting in this room in the evening, where the community came. And we listened to what Mesa said and we listened to what Great Lakes said. And, boy, they (Great Lakes) just told us some wonderful stories. And afterward the community all said, 'We want to stay with Mesa.' Well, the vote went the other way, and we've been paying for it ever since."

Brown reported that many town streets are scheduled for chip-sealing in August, and that the residents will be notified ahead of time.

The council approved a resolution ratifying an agreement between the town and the Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments. Brown stated this was an annual resolution to participate in the SWNMCG saying, "If I want to know something, I ask Priscilla, (Lucero, executive director)."

Bettison said: "For $4,500 they do so much for us. They're sharp and on the ball."

Resolutions amending the budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 and a final quarter financial report for the year ending June 30, 2014, were approved without discussion.

A preliminary budget for the fiscal year commencing July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015, was approved.

Approval of a bid for interior renovations to the Silco Theater was postponed to a future date to wait for grant money, as the two bids received exceeded the funds available.

The council, in final action, approved changing the town council meeting scheduled for Aug. 26, at 6 p.m. to Aug. 20, at 6 p.m.


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