By Hallie Richwine
The Town of Hurley Regular Meeting took place Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 5 p.m. Councilors Esther Gil, Richard Maynes, Freddie Rodriguez, and Mateo Madrid attended as well as Mayor Ed Stevens.
During public input, Charles Hubbard spoke to council about reinstating and updating the town website. Hubbard said the website would be a good centerpiece for the town, where information and advertisements could be displayed. Hubbard added that it would be nice to see a Hurley resident as the new webmaster.
Edward Encinas spoke to council as well, voicing concerns about the improvements to the pool. Encinas said in the past there was incomplete funding, which is why the pool remains unheated. Encinas also mentioned he still receives complaints and hopes to see the community come together.
Next Javier Salas introduced himself to council and the audience. Salas is running for County Commission in District 2 and said he wants to work closely with the communities. Salas would like to see cooperatives and county resources used to reach common goals. He wishes to be a visible and good representative for the district.
Cindy Renee Provencio also introduced herself to council and attendees. She i running for County Commission District 2 as well. Provencio was born and raised in Grant County. Provencio has experience in social justice. “I want to use those skills and that knowledge to give back to the community that raised me,” she said. Provencio’s full platform outline is on her website.
Then Sandra Berry approached council. Berry, formerly of Nevada Avenue, claimed she left her property after numerous incidents of vandalism. Berry had problems with neighbors and law enforcement.
Hurley Pride, represented by Tammy Gonzalez, was next on the agenda and asked for maintenance to mow the area for the upcoming car show. Freeport McMoRan owns the property used for the event but allows for its use. Maynes asked how many have registered for the car show. Gonzalez said there were ten vehicles signed up so far with more expected closer to the date. Last year the car show attracted 1000 spectators. The car show happens May 12, 2018.
Stevens appointed Maynes as Mayor Pro Tem, and council accepted the appointment unanimously.
Council then heard from the public regarding the request of a kennel license by Provencio. Provencio resides on Nevada Avenue and there are more dogs and cats on the premises than allowed by current residential ordinances. Stevens asked that the neighbors have time to voice their opinions on the matter.
Resident Paul Martinez said he has lived in Hurley for forty years and never experienced a problem like this. He believes having five dogs is a health hazard on account of feces. Bonita Martinez weighed in, “Every time I go out to do something in the yard the dogs bark at me. The dogs get me nervous. I would like to have peace in the neighborhood.”
Provencio defended her decision to apply for the kennel license. She explained she moved in with her parents after her divorce, so the combined household pets exceeded the residential ordinance. After going to court for having too many animals, she took the necessary steps to retain the family pets. Provencio said the yard is now cleaned several times a week and the smaller dogs, who bark more often, are not left unattended in the yard. Provencio said their household is not the only one in the neighborhood that has barking dogs, and she struggles with a neighbor who threatens to call the dog catcher often.
Chris Teran, the Animal Control Officer for Hurley, said he contacted Provencio and her neighbors. Teran explained the kennel license is merely an exception to the residential ordinance and not a commercial designation. He said the stipulation is that all ordinances be followed, but allows for more than two, but less than seven, animals. Teran said all citations have been complied with but the license would not be valid for an eight-animal household.
Resident Claire Feliz said the dogs bother her, too, and doesn’t believe the other neighbors are threatening Provencio.
Stevens asked if the household was in compliance with the ordinance regarding the kennel license application. Teran confirmed that the household had one more animal than allowed for the kennel license exception. Gil said she sympathized with the neighbors and Rodriguez added that council needs to go along with the ordinance that is currently in place. Ultimately Gil moved for council to deny the kennel license, and council agreed unanimously.
Provencio expressed concern about how to go about getting rid of one of the family pets. Stevens said the household will work with Teran and the judge to comply.
Next Bertha Peru came before the board. Peru represented the North Hurley Water Association and appeared after writing a letter to council about Hurley taking over their responsibility. She said there is no longer a strong board and with recent resignations they will dissolve as of May 1, 2018. The takeover could provide more revenue for Hurley. Maynes asked how many households the NHWA currently services. Peru said there are 110-125 households.
Stevens recommended council look at the situation, specifically the costs, and suggested a workshop to go over the numbers. Maynes added that with almost 600 households in town the additional work could be a burden on staff, so even with additional revenue there may be extra work to do.
Priscilla Lucero, Executive Director of the Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments, offered advice on the matter as well, “They are already at a point where there are not enough people on the board. One thing to consider is setting a short-term goal versus a long-term one,” Lucero said, reminding council that there may be more than one way to help.
Next Stantec Engineers updated council on outstanding projects. The second phase of Cortez Avenue has begun, and paving should be complete soon. They hope for final inspection in the upcoming week. The water project will go to bid soon, and the cemetery project has had its final inspection.
Two proclamations were adopted and passed unanimously by council, one to declare April 2018 as Fair Housing Month, the other declaring May 5, 2018 as Give Grandly! Give Local Day. The latter encourages residents to donate to local non-profit organizations.
Maynes then presented to council the possibility of refurbishing the GO building that was gifted to Hurley by the Chino mining operations. To consider the building as a public safety building work would need to be done and the village requested quotes for the scope of work that would update it. A total of $22,600 would complete the project as outlined by Mark Richard, who also completed the Bayard Community Center.
Stevens said the American Legion building is also owned by the village. Maynes moved to accept the bid by Richard for the updates but the motion died on the table, opposed by Gil and Rodriguez. Stevens also voted against the project but said they will revisit the possibility in the future.
Acting Chief Mariano Fraere reported an injury to an officer, leading the department to research the installation of plexiglass partitions in police vehicles. Combative individuals often spit toward the officer when they are in the back seat, causing medical tests to be ordered.
Gil reported on the status of the ballpark, saying the maintenance department did a great job and that grass is emerging. The A Street park was also manicured. Gil would like to see improvements done to the tennis courts. Maintenance has a Boy Scout who will straighten out and repaint the crosses at the cemetery, and Gil is asking for a sign to be placed on the grounds asking people to not walk their pets there.
Maynes reported that he received a request from a resident to reblade Anza Street due to water runoff. He also reminded everyone that any concerns regarding the hospital be routed to the county commissioners.
Stevens thanked the Republican Women’s group for hosting the Easter egg hunt. Stevens also said the special meeting with Raul Turrieta happens April 23, 2018 at 5 p.m. He would also like to see a workshop on animal ordinances.
The next Regular Meeting for the Town of Hurley happens Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at 5 p.m.