By Roger Lanse
The Silver City Town Council watched approvingly at its Tuesday, April 11 meeting, as Mayor Ken Ladner, building on Resolution 2003-31, proclaimed that town departments GÇ£shall continue the practice of not utilizing their limited resources for searching, surveilling, seizing, or detaining possible undocumented persons who have not committed a crimeGÇ¥ and GÇ£shall continue their policy of refraining from making any inquiries into the status of citizenship of any person they may encounter.GÇ¥ The full text of the proclamation follows:
GÇ£Whereas, the Town council of the Town of Silver City finds that it is appropriate that certain core principals of this Council and the government which it forms be reaffirmed, celebrated, and proclaimed to the inhabitants of the Town, and to all others who may inquire; and
GÇ£Whereas, in Resolution No. 2003-31 entitled GÇÿResolution for the Restoration and Defense of Constitutional Rights,GÇÖ the Town Council affirmed the TownGÇÖs values of inclusiveness and protection of persons from unconstitutional activities regardless of source; and
GÇ£Whereas, the Town celebrates the fact that it has faithfully adhered to those principals expressed in Resolution 2003-31 and will continue to do so, celebrating inclusiveness, the protection of persons under the law, and the equality of persons regardless of their circumstance; and
GÇ£Whereas, the TownGÇÖs Territorial Charter of 1878 provides for the regulation of persons and property for the health, welfare, and safety of the Town, its inhabitants, and visitors, and the Town Council notes that there exists no express or implied power in said Territorial Charter authorizing this government to regulate, detain, or otherwise participate in matters involving possible undocumented persons;
GÇ£Now, therefore, I, Ken Ladner, Mayor of the Town of Silver City, and on behalf of the Town Council, do hereby proclaim
A. That the policy declarations and expression of community values of Resolution 2003-31 as well as the often expressed Town policies of inclusiveness, fairness, and equality of persons are hereby affirmed and will continue to be made applicable to all Departments and employees of the Town; and
B. The Departments of the Town of Silver City government shall continue the practice of not utilizing their limited resources for searching, surveilling, seizing, or detaining possible undocumented persons who have not committed a crime under state or local law within the town; and
C. The Departments shall continue their policy of refraining from making any inquiries into the status of citizenship of any person they may encounter; and
D. The Departments shall not oblige any request from any federal law enforcement to detain, surveil, or identify persons of possible undocumented citizenship without a lawful warrant or court order supporting such request; and
E. The Departments of the Town of Silver city government shall not join nor provide resources to any task force or other assemblage of law enforcement created for or acting with a purpose of enforcing federal immigration law.
GÇ£In witness whereof, I have set my hand and caused this official seal of the Town of Silver City to be affixed this 11th day of April, 2017. Ken Ladner, MayorGÇ¥
Ladner also proclaimed April 2017, as Fair housing Month. Cassie Carver, President of Silver City Regional Association of Realtors; Kim Clark, also of SCRAR; and Cissy McAndrews, President-elect of SCRAR, accepted the proclamation. Ladner also declared April 22, 2017, as Copper Country Senior Olympics Day. Mario Quintana, Fred Baca, Lencho Anaya, Patricia Cano, and others were present to accept the proclamation.
Patricia Cano, Secretary of the Silver City Museum Board, informed council that on May 20, a fundraiser celebrating the museumGÇÖs 50th anniversary would take place highlighting a BeatlesGÇÖ Tribute Concert. The museum hopes to raise $50,000 for improvements to the Ailman House, Cano said.
DIstrict 3 Councilor Jose Ray Jr. asked Town Manager Alex Brown to look into constructing speed bumps on Little Walnut Road near Jose Barrios Elementary School.
Gary Stailey announced that his volunteer work group is constructing flower boxes for downtown businesses and has already installed 10 with about 14 to go. He credited the assistance of Mastercraft, Town and County Garden Club, and Ace Hardware.
Town Attorney Robert Scavron informed council that closing streets for private enterprise events would require remuneration to the town in the future. Those who use town assets for their own purposes, usually events not sponsored by the town or by MainStreet, will now be charged a fee.
Brown stated the town has purchased 2,500 recycling bins and have thus far delivered 2,300. He said the town might see a decrease in revenue because people are using smaller containers.
Assistant Town Manager James Marshall noted there are 15 miles of trails on public property within the town and stated the town is fortunate to have so many volunteers to maintain the trails and to work on improving the trailheads.
State Senator Howie Morales told the council that the GÇ£hold harmlessGÇ¥ issue, where the state promised to reimburse municipalities when gross receipts taxes were rescinded on food and certain other items, but is now pulling back on that promise, is still very much alive and threatens Silver City more than, possibly, any other community in New Mexico.
Morales said the state canGÇÖt tax our way out of the its financial troubles or cut its way out of it. He said he couldnGÇÖt support a budget that is balanced only by cuts.
Morales told the council to beware when they hear the term GÇ£tax reform,GÇ¥ as that is a code word for tax increases.
When Morales asked about some of the Colonias projects on tap for the town this fiscal year and next, Brown said there are two, one for engineering planning on Ridge Road and a second for the water project along Highway 15. Morales emphasized the capital outlay portion of the stateGÇÖs budget was vetoed which affects the Colonias funding.
Kelsey Patterson came before the council requesting they approve a restaurant beer and wine license with on premises consumption only, with patio service, at 304 N. Bullard Street. Council approved the license.
Council also approved an ordinance regarding an operating and lease agreement with Hidalgo Medical Services for HMS to manage and provide services to the Silver City Senior Citizens Center.
In new business, council approved two public celebration permit applications, requested by Teresa Dahl-Bredine, for the annual Toadfest Brewers Guild Tap Takeover at 200 N. Bullard Street, on Saturday, April 29, with alcohol service from 2 to 11 p.m. Sponsor is Dahl-BredineGÇÖs Little Toad Brewery and Distillery of Silver City.
Council also approved two other public celebration permit applications for the 22nd Anniversary of the Silver City Blues Festival to be held on Pope Street between 12th and 13th streets from May 26-28. Alcohol will be served on May 26 from 5 to 10 p.m., on May 27 from noon to 10 p.m., and May 28 from noon to 5 p.m. The sponsor is the Mimbres Region Arts Council. GÇ£This is the same footprint as last year,GÇ¥ MRACGÇÖs spokesman Kevin Lenkner said.
A special use permit application submitted by Jack Brennan for the Tour of the Gila V.I.P. Reception on Saturday, April 22, from 2 to 6 p.m., at 601 N. Bullard Street, sponsored by W&N Enterprises, was approved by council.
Council approved an amendment to the townGÇÖs employees' personnel manual to specifically allow the town manager to place an employee in a lower classification that is open if that is the employeeGÇÖs desire.
Council approved a memorandum of understanding between the town and the Silver City MainStreet Project.
Brown recommended awarding a water delivery improvement project on Richard, Daniel, Theodore, and Dorothy streets in the Chihuahua Hill area to J and S Plumbing of Silver City. The town was awarded a Community Development Block Grant of $475,776 for the project, while the winning bid from J and S was $383,362.74, including gross receipts tax.
Brown next discussed the upcoming FY2017-18 proposed budget, saying the hold harmless aspect affects the town dramatically reducing what the town gets from the state starting this year. He proposed three options to help the town solve its financial crisis:
1. Cut expenses, that means non-essential services, or quality-of-life services, would be cut first.
2. Impose a mill increase in property taxes.
3. Impose a gross receipts tax increase for FY 2018 and every two years thereafter.
Brown said if the upcoming special session sees the hold harmless reimbursements eliminated entirely, that would result in a $1.3 million reduction in revenue to Silver City.
The water and sewer fund should be up about five percent this fiscal year, Brown opined, and saw no increase in fees for FY2017-18. He is proposing a fee increase for sanitation pickup, except for seniors.
The lodgerGÇÖs tax is expected to be down about nine percent over two years ago and will result in a $20,000 reduction this year, Brown said. GÇ£We just donGÇÖt have the money.GÇ¥ He went on to say that some businesses are benefiting from increased tourism but are not paying their fair share of lodgerGÇÖs tax.
Paul Baca and Dale Giese were named to the Cemetery Board.