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County Commission elects chairman

IMG 8654Photo: Grant County Sheriff Raul Villanueva introduced the two officers, Sgt. Frank Gomez and Deputy Cody Cooper who oversee and teach the D.A.R.E. program in the Cobre and Silver Schools. Gomez introduced each winner of the D.A.R.E. essay contest. Above, back row, are Cooper, Commissioner Gabriel Ramos, Commissioner Ron Hall, Gomez, Commissioner Brett Kasten and Villanueva. The students, not listed in order are David Montoya, San Lorenzo Elementary School; Briana Araza of Hurley Elementary School; Marissa Cabrera and Teresa Medina of Central Elementary School; Kathy Gardea and Analisa Marquez of Bayard Elementary School; and Melody Harwood, Austine Arzola, Tayler Lamb and Brooklyn Sainz of Harrison Schmitt Elementary School. They each said what they got out of the program.

The first item on the regular meeting agenda of the Grant County Commission on Thursday morning was the election of a chairman.  

Commissioner Gabriel Ramos nominated sitting Chairman Brett Kasten and Commissioner Ron Hall seconded the nomination.

"You've been doing a good job for the past two years," Ramos said.

The motion passed.

During public input, country resident Lynda Aiman-Smith said she had three things she would like the commission to look at in 2013.

"I would like for you to expand from three to five commissioners to have five viewpoints and more diversity," Aiman-Smith said. "I hope you look at the New Mexico Association of Counties certification of county commissioners, and lastly, the program, Property Assessed Clean Energy for green retrofit of homes."

County Manager Jon Paul Saari said the commission is already involved in the NMAC program. "We have had five graduates and two more are in the program."

Saari gave the expenditure report, which listed expenses of $4,048,544.84 for a month's worth of payments. The major payments were a quarterly payment of $1.203 million for an indigent fund payment and $1.235 million for Business and Conference Center construction.

Under new business, the first item was the recognition of D.A.R.E. program essay winners. Sheriff Raul Villanueva said the program in the schools is in it s fourth year and is "making a positive impact on the county."  He introduced Sgt. Fran Gomez and Deputy Cody Cooper as the two officers who go to schools weekly.

"We have taught 800 students," Gomez said. "This year for the first time, we are in Harrison Schmitt Elementary School."

He then presented the Cobre and Silver Schools winners, who each presented what they had learned from the program.

"The program also taught them about peer pressure and not to bully other students, Villanueva said. "We thank the commission for its support for the program."

"Thank you," Hall said to the students. "You are the leaders among our youths."

Commissioners approved:
• The county volunteer fire departments' election results. Saari said a group from one of the departments had an issue with the process of the election. "They wanted to know the process for removing an officer if he or she is in violation of by-laws or procedures. They had no problem with the commission approving the election results";
• Fiscal Year 2014 emergency medical services annual service report and application for Gila Regional Medical Center EMS, Gila Valley EMS, Mimbres Valley EMS, Pinos Altos Volunteer Fire and Rescue and Tyrone VFR;
• The addition of Policy 55 to the Sheriff's Department standard operating procedures to cover the rules and regulations for officers using the computers newly installed in patrol cars;
• Five items, including agreements with the county and state agencies in order for the County DWI program to apply for funding;
• An intergovernmental transfer from the Road Department to Western New Mexico University of a 1995 Ford Bronco, for grant recipients at the university to research the effects of last summer's Whitewater-Baldy Fire in the Gila National Forest and Wilderness;
• Several professional service agreements for the Juvenile Parole Office, including the termination of an agreement, on the resignation of Daniel Ziegler; Yolanda Manzano and Randall Compton each to receive $13,400; and Alexander Buck to receive $4,105 for surveillance of the ankle bracelet program;
• An agreement with Southwestern Camper Ranches Inc. for utilization of a building space by the Tyrone VFR to house a brush truck at Burro Mountain Homestead. The residents of the area will pay to construct a 40-foot-by-40-foot building, with half to be used to house the brush truck in case of fire in the area. Saari explained that the agreement was to allow a mini-station to be set up at the Homestead, because several volunteer firefighters live in the area and can fight a fire while other trucks are responding, which can take up to a half hour;
• The Open Meetings Act resolution had a change to put public input at the beginning of the meeting;
• The Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan, which includes funding for the front of the Administration Center and an evidence vault for the Sheriff's Department; and
• A resolution naming the boards, committees and commissions the various commissioners and county officials will serve on to represent Grant County.

Kasten asked that a resolution be developed to allow the county manager to approve the JPO agreements, and the commission to approve them as a consent agenda item.

The rest of the meeting, which included an explanation of the indigent fund and county officials' reports will be covered in a subsequent article.

For more information on the items approved, see http://www.grantcountybeat.com/index.php/news/news-articles/8590-county-commissioners-at-work-session-review-regular-agenda .

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