By Roger Lanse
In front of a near capacity crowd, the Silver City Town Council at its Tuesday, June 12 meeting, passed a notice of intent ordinance which would allow recreational off-road vehicles, or ROVs, on city streets.
Sponsored by District 3 Councilor Jose Ray Jr., the measure would require side-by-sides to be outfitted with safety equipment including seat belts, steering wheel, mirrors, lights, and signal horn. Also required would be four street tires and a muffler. The vehicles could not be driven before 6 a.m. nor after 10 p.m., according to the NOI, and drivers must be 18-years-of-age or older. Proper registration and insurance are mandatory, Ray said.
About 15 residents expressed their desires to council regarding the proposed ordinance, ten in support, two in opposition, and three needed further clarification. Acting Silver City Police Chief Freddy Portillo told the council he didn’t support the measure and neither did his officers, citing additional hazards, complaints and alcohol-related fatalities.
Ray moved to approve the NOI, and District 4 Councilor Guadalupe Cano seconded the motion. In the discussion that followed, District 2 Councilor Lynda Aiman-Smith voiced several concerns as did District 1 Councilor Cynthia Bettison. Cano spoke in favor of the measure saying the county has passed a similar measure. Ray asked: ”Why can we not try it? Let’s give it a shot. If it doesn’t work then we have nobody to blame but ourselves.”
The measure passed by a 3-1 vote, with Aiman-Smith casting the lone ‘nay’ vote.
Mayor Ken Ladner commended all the volunteers who worked the Family Fun Day, Jump into Summer, at Gough Park on Saturday. “There were 100s of kids there,” he said.
Bettison praised the work done at Hidden Park since last meeting, including directing water away from erosion patterns near the basketball court, painted little benches, killed red ant nests near the sandbox, and cleared away cacti.
Aiman-Smith encouraged residents to notice the art-filled crosswalks at the corner of 12th and Virginia streets and reminded the public that the SCPD will be conducting saturation patrols and checkpoints.
Ray opined that there were too many dogs running loose at the Blues Festival at Gough Park.
Retired Air Force Col. Susan Beck who has lived in Grant County since 2016, gave an update of the Holliman Air Force Base F-16 Training proposal. Because of newer technology in F-16s being built now, pilots need expanded fly zones to train, she said. According to her, the AF has a shortage of some 2,000 pilots of which F-16s pose the greatest need.
HAFB is using all existing airspace, Beck said, but it is challenging. HAFB would prefer to use the White Sands Missile Range because it’s closer. But WSMR is not always available because they have their own mission and duties.
Beck said the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposal is in the works, but its completion has been delayed from September to next year (2019). She encouraged council and the county to let the AF know what is here that will be affected by the proposed expansion of the F-16 training area. Comments can be made through the HAFB EIS website.
An additional informational meeting is planned for Wednesday, June 13, at WNMU’s Global Resource Center at 6:30 p.m., Beck said.
Portillo told council, in answer to last meeting’s subject of drug houses in residential neighborhoods, that the police department has been more aggressive with the drug problem and several arrests have been made. Also, procedures have been put in place to inform victims of what is happening with their stolen belongings that have been recovered, he stated.
Council approved three public celebration permit applications, one for the Volunteer Center of Grant County’s “Uncommonly Good Evening” on June 30, at 501 E. 13th Street with alcohol service from 6 to 9:30 p.m., and two for the Silver City Arts and Cultural District and CLAY Festival’s “Clay Festival Dance” at Market Street east of Bullard street on July 21, with alcohol service from 6-10 p.m.
Council approved a resolution to participate in the Local Government Road Fund Program administered by the NM Department of Transportation for a chip seal and fog seal road project. This involves various town streets for FY 2018/2019 and will cost $113,217, of which the town’s match is $28,304.
Also approved was a resolution authorizing the submission of a Community Development Block Grant application to the Department of Finance and Administration for a street and drainage project involving Daniel Street from Robert to NM 90, Dorothy Street from Robert to Theodore, Richard Street from Robert to Dead End, and Theodore Street from Dorothy to Alice. The full project is priced at $748,638.25.
In final action, council appointed Kevin Hubbs to the Lodgers Tax Advisory Board.