By Charlie McKee
Under the continuing stewardship of Town Manager and Acting Director of Finance Alex Brown, the Town of Silver City has once again passed its fiscal audit with flying colors. Mike Stone of Stone, McGhee & Co., CPAs testified to the Town Council, at its meeting on Feb. 26, that the audit of the Town's financial statements for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012 had once again resulted in an "Unqualified Opinion," meaning that there were no audit findings and no adjustments required to the Town's financial statements. This is the highest grade achievable in an audit, and Stone noted that this is part of an outstanding track record in fiscal management under Brown's tenure as Town Manager. Stone also stated that Silver City is exceptional in this regard in the state of New Mexico, as state auditors have declared that more than 60 municipalities in the state are "at risk" in their fiscal health. Brown is responsible for $75 million in assets and $21 million in revenue for the Town of Silver City.
Mayor James Marshall thanked Brown and his staff for their continuing exceptional performance, in spite of a difficult year with shortage of personnel. After Stone's report, the Council voted to approve the Town of Silver City's Audit Report for fiscal year ending June 30, 2012.
In the Reports portion of the Town Council Meeting prior to the Audit Report, Ted Pressler presented the Council with plans for the Southwest Festival of the Written Word. The festival is to take place in Silver City from Sept. 27 through Sept. 29, 2013, and will be the first literary festival in the area, celebrating the power and beauty of the written word. The group is collaborating with the Western Institute for Lifelong Learning (WILL), Western New Mexico University (WNMU), Silver City's Arts and Cultural District, the Silver City Museum and the Silver City Public Library. Their intent is to promote the literary heritage of Silver City and to attract visitors to Silver City's historic downtown.
The Town Clerk then reminded the Council that this week was the final week for early and absentee voting in the March 5, 2013 Municipal Election.
More than an hour of the Town Council meeting was spent in a Public Hearing regarding a request for an Encroachment Permit to allow an existing abutment wall from private property at 1006 West Market Street to "encroach" onto the Town's unpaved sidewalk property on West Kelly Street. The property encompasses an entire block of Black's Addition and has other "historic encroachments" that encroach on Town property, as in many other parts of the historic downtown area. The purpose of Resolution No. 2013-05 for the Encroachment Permit is to allow the existing abutment wall, but disallow any future encroachments from this property onto public property, since they may obstruct pedestrian passage. After amending the verbiage of the resolution to ensure that it does not waive the Town's right to disallow pre-existing encroachments, the Council approved Resolution No. 2013-05 for the Encroachment Permit.
During the second Public Hearing of the meeting, the Council also approved the Town's recovery of costs associated with the demolition of the remnants of a mobile home and its debris that have been a danger to the public since 2008. The property had become a magnet for feral dogs and squatters, making the area particularly dangerous for local children. The property owner is deceased, and title searches found no heirs. The Town has therefore enforced the Abatement of Dangerous Buildings code, demolished the structure, and cleaned up the property. The Council approved posting a lien on the property to recover the costs of the demolition.
During the Business portion of the meeting, the Council approved the following ordinances and resolutions:
• Ordinance No. 1215 to amend Chapter 16, Section 16-44 of the Municipal Code, changing the composition of the Incentive Review Committee from seven members to five.
• Notice of Intent Ordinance No. 1218 to transfer "public to public" ownership of property: the Town transfers the "Tennis Court Parking Lot" to Silver Consolidated Schools, and the Schools transfer a portable building for public use to the Town.
• Resolution No. 2013-11 for application to NM Finance Authority for Colonias Infrastructure funding to perform the second phase of street and drainage improvements on Silver Street and complete the work to Highway 180.
• Resolution No. 2013-12 for application for NM Municipal Arterial Program (MAP) funding to continue upgrades to College Avenue from Cooper Street to E Street, including sidewalks, solar lighting, and gutters.
• Resolution No. 2013-13 for application to NM Finance Authority for Colonias Infrastructure funding for sewer system improvements on F Street to mitigate continuing sewer blockages in old, inaccessible sewage lines.
After approval of the above items, the meeting was adjourned.