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Grant County Commission hears presentations and approves agenda items

During public input at the Grant County Commission regular meeting Thursday, March 21, Alicia Edwards of The Volunteer Center gave an update on the agency's programs at the Mimbres Senior Center.

"We are doing a project to increase attendance at the congregate meals, improve transportation, and provide activities at the center," Edwards said. "We've been working on it since November. We are working with Western New Mexico University nursing students to hold a regular foot clinic. We have programs on health issues, craft days, movie days on a donated TV, availability of a donated computer, and concerts with Bayou Seco and Mountain Aire."


She reported 109 more participants at the center in January 2013 over January 2012, as well as an average of 25 for lunch, which is an increase of about 10.

Commissioner Ron Hall asked if the seniors had a need for a bus to bring them to town for doctor's visits or shopping.

"We are working on that and on a van for transportation," Edwards said. "For seniors that has been an issue as long as I've been at The Volunteer Center. Seniors have a reluctance to ride the bus, because of mobility issues and a limit of bags on the bus."

Hall suggested staff from Corre Caminos could go to the senior centers and talk to them about the issues. Edwards said she would coordinate it with the Mimbres Senior Center.

Commission Chairman Brett Kasten asked if wi-fi was available in Mimbres. Edwards said Internet is available, but it is "very slow."

Kasten said he would be interested in seeing wi-fi at all the senior centers.

County Manager Jon Paul Saari gave the expenditure and financial reports. The county had expenditures of $1,235,374.54 since the last meeting in February. In addition, commissioners approved a payroll for $421,721.46, which was inadvertently left off the Feb 18, 2013 report.

The financial report for the General Fund showed $4.1 million in the bank as of the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1, 2012, $5.3 million in revenues year-to-date, $3.645 million in cash, and an expected surplus at the end of the fiscal year of $84,000. The Road Fund is estimated to have a surplus of $671,000 at the end of the fiscal year, and the Corrections Fund, a $179,000 cash balance at the end of the fiscal year.

Glenn Navatto, Loma Verde resident, had concerns about the cottonwood trees on Ventana Drive that might be cut down if the roads are improved in the subdivision. "On one side of the road is a large easement, so the trees could be left alone. I put in a 6-inch drainage pipe 25 years ago, so it is not necessary to put in a 12-inch, because everything drains just fine. The trees absorb the water in the summer."

Commissioner Gabriel Ramos said the only reason to remove the trees was because of where the right-of-way is on the plat.

"There is plenty of easement on the other side of the road," Navatto said. "I put in a road base of stone, so all you need is base course and to crown the road. They moved the road marker. I showed Mr. (Road Superintendent Earl) Moore the original marker."

Lonnie Sandoval, who is the spokesman for Loma Verde residents, said he is not being contacted at all. "Nobody is calling me. I've been told we need to sign the original plant. The problem is that not everyone lives here anymore."

"Our legal department tells us we have to do it," Kasten said.

Saari said the county is waiting on the surveyor to get the plat back. "We are working on a way to get the signatures from those out-of-town without having to mail the plat from person and back and then to another person.  We are trying to make it less burdensome. "

Sandoval said the mail could be a problem. "Will there be only a certain amount of time to get the plat signed?"

"We'll call you, and we'll coordinate with you," County Attorney Abby Robinson said.

Kasten pointed out that if the survey is "busted, we need to get it fixed now."

Ted Pressler gave a PowerPoint presentation on the Southwest Festival of the Written Word, slated for Sept. 27-29. "We have a lot of successful festivals here. This will be the first literary/book festival."

He said the vision of the board of director is based on five words: power, celebrate, beauty, rich diversity and culture. The event will be dedicated to Gene Simon, a journalist from the East, who lived in the Mimbres for many years.

Pressler said the event would include readings, music, dancers, journalists, bloggers, fun and games, and interaction. The board members hope to have 1,200 visitors.

"We want to promote the Silver City literary heritage, promote reading for everyone and promote local writers," Pressler said. "We hope to have children's workshops. Venues will be throughout the downtown up to the university. We have invited 50 authors and we will have panels for three days, as well as workshops."

Patricia Cano spoke to commissioners about the Grant County Chicano Music Project, planning for which began in January 2012. The committee of 12 has three objectives—a documentary of Chicano music from Grant County, a CD of local music and a photo exhibit.

"We began with no funding, but we have been able to use Western's equipment and have filmed about 100 Grant County musicians," Cano said. "The event will be unveiled at Western New Mexico University on Aug. 31, with a huge car show, live Grant County music, vendors and artists, and then the documentary will be presented. We are looking for funding for the CD."

Proceeds from the event would go to scholarships in music and arts and to expand the festival to three days in 2014.

Ramos said he was excited about the event, "but I would also like to see a huachas tournament. I think this event will open the eyes of youths to the music history of the area."

Kasten said he feels the event will surpass Pickamania and rival the Blues Festival. "I would love to help you with seed money."

Saari said the county could help out with Lodgers' tax funding for advertising. "We can't donate to non-governmental entities."

Cano said all sponsors would be listed in the credits of the documentary.

Hall congratulated Cano and the committee. "It will bring dollars to the community."

In other business, commissioners approved:
• An inventory deletion request from the Treasurer's Office to get rid of old equipment;
• Task Order No. 10 to WHPacific Inc. for the reconstruction of Phase III of the public apron at the Grant County Airport;
• Volunteer firefighters annual reporting to the New Mexico Public Employees Retirement Association for Cliff-Gila Volunteer Fire Department, Fort Bayard VFD, Pinos Altos Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, Santa Rita VFD, Sapillo Creek VFRD, Tyrone VFRD, Upper Mimbres VFRD, and Whiskey Creek VFD;
• An application for law enforcement protection funds for fiscal year 2013;
• A memorandum of understanding with the NM Department of Public Safety for the Sheriff's Department to participate in Offender Watch as part of the Sex Offender Registry;
• A resolution authorizing the execution and delivery of a loan agreement and the intercept agreement with the NM Finance Authority for $36,505 for the Sapillo Creek VFRD to acquire a brush truck;
• Certification of the county maintained road mileage;
• Fiscal year 2013 budget adjustments;
• A resolution revising the Grant County Employee Manual for an option for holiday pay to part-time employees;
• A bid award for Pinos Altos VFRD Cottage San Fire Station interior upgrades to Custom Steelworks; and
• A bid award to purchase a gasoline-powered automotive vehicle-truck from Lawley Ford.

As the Grant County Indigent and Health Care Claims Board, commissioners approved 15 out-of-county claims for $27,291.81 paid from the indigent health care gross receipts tax. The 1265 claims of $554,376.63, are being held up until Gila Regional Medical Center receives word about federal funding for the Grant County Health Plan, which is being held up by an accounting problem on the state level.

One more article will finish out the Tuesday work session and the Thursday regular meeting county reports.

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