The Grant County Commission combined its work session and regular meeting into one on Tuesday.
Resident James Baldwin, during public input, said it was the third time he had come before the commission requesting the members' priorities and goals. "I would like to know what you are using taxpayer money for—what items, when the items end and the cost of your goals."
The first item of business was the financial report. County Manager Jon Paul Saari said the general fund actual cash balance at the beginning of the fiscal year, July 1, 2011, showed $4,500,00 with revenues year-to-date of $7,314,924. Transfers YTD of $2,464,357, operating expenditures YTD $2,592,626 and salaries and benefits YTD of $4,985,604, leave an actual cash balance as of May 31 of $1,772,338.
Projected transfers into the general fund before June 30, the end of this fiscal year, are expected to be $376,451, with projected transfers out of $76,998, projected revenues of $2,032,596, and projected operating expenditures of 611,356 and projected salaries and benefits of $759,425, leaving an expected cash balance of $2,733,606, minus the required three-twelfths reserve of $2,105,342, with an anticipates surplus on June 30 of $628,264.
Projected revenues include the federal payment in lieu of taxes for federal property within the county and a copper payment from Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. The payments are expected to arrive before the end of the fiscal year.
The Road Fund is anticipated to have a surplus of $123,842 at the end of the fiscal year. The Corrections Fund is anticipated to have a cash balance of $138,423, but Saari said the latter fund may not carry over a surplus, so it will go into the general fund. The Corrections Fund draws transfers out of the general fund when needed.
The expenditure report was for $3,115,804.48, which included three payrolls in the pay period. "Most of the rest is the clearing up of grants and end of year expenditures, as well as an indigent payment," Saari explained.
Margaret Begay of the Juvenile Probation Office gave a report on the surveillance program of ankle bracelets, funded by the county.
"Year to date, we have had 205 informal contacts, 367 formal and 73 courtesy," Begay said. "Visuals for the year are 6, 430, with 113 violations."
Begay said the bracelet program was reinstated with the help of Judge J.C. Robinson. "We have four county owned and four state owned in use today."
To a request for clarification of terms, Begay said the informal use of bracelets is pre-adjudicatry; formal are court ordered; and courtesy are at the request of parents. The average time of a juvenile wearing a monitoring bracelet is 21 days. As for the face-to-face visuals, three men go out seven days a week to check on those wearing the monitoring bracelets. "We limit each guy to 15-20 visuals a day. The formal and informal bracelet wearers are seen four to five times a week."
Commission Chairman Brett Kasten asked how many different juveniles are in the program, "because I know how much it costs to send one to Deming."
Juveniles are not housed in Grant County, but must be sent to other juvenile facilities in the state, of which the closest is in Deming.
"On average, we have 53 kids seen daily," Begay said. "The guys who perform the visuals are paid $5 a contact, and the GPS costs about $4 a day."
Commissioner Gabriel Ramos said he would like to see specific and hard numbers.
Saari suggested the report indicate "how many kids we didn't have to send to the detention center."
Kasten also asked who paid for the courtesy bracelets. Begay said the county does.
"I spent $44.000 on the program," Begay said. "I'm asking for $48,000 for next year."
Saari explained the courtesy ones are proactive to reduce crime and detention.
Begay pointed out that there is an issue of transportation for adjudicated kids. "I wish we had a transport team for the adjudicated kids when there is a new crime. We had to house the last one in Gallup, because Deming is not taking any. Jon and Judge Robinson are working for collaboration among law enforcement entities for transport. Surveillance is a good program. The judges love the program."
Commissioner Christy Miller asked why Deming was not taking kids.
"Luna County was housing federal offenders in metal containers, but the feds won't certify the containers, so the county had to turn the juvenile facility into a jail for federal offenders," Saari explained. "There are not a lot of juvenile centers, and it's expensive. We need to get legislation to set up regional juvenile centers to expand the number of beds. All the counties are dealing with the same issue."
Begay introduced Rachel Medina, the supervisor in Silver City. Medina thanked the county for supporting the transport issue, especially when it's the middle of the night, a juvenile needs to be detained, and there is no transportation.
Tiffany Knauf, Grant County Community Health Council coordinator, asked the commissioners to approve two new members, who had been approved by the full health council. They are Sheriff Raul Villanueva and Western New Mexico University President Joseph Shepard. She also recommended the change in representation by Juan Castañon from community organizations to Forest Service, where he works.
"In updates, Mary Alice Murphy is the new steering committee member to replace Alan Berg, who took a job in Arizona," Knauf said. "And here are copies of all the membership commitment forms signed from the current members."
She said the Community Assessment Survey had been out for only a month and a half and already the health council has received 2,000 completed surveys in hard copy and online.
"The next event where we will have the surveys is July 4th at Gough Park," Knauf said. "Our goal that day is more than 200. Our overall goal is 9,000, but the highest number of surveys in the state was 5,000 by Bernalillo County. We want to definitely surpass that number.
"I am asked why the assessment is important," Knauf said. "The health council wants to set priorities, and we use the data for non-profits to apply for grant funding."
She announced the Red Hot Children's Fiesta would take place Saturday, Sept. 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Old James Stadium.
Knauf introduced A.J. Sandoval, Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities coordinator.
"My first success is family friendly checkout lanes at Food Basket stores in Silver City and Bayard," Sandoval said. "We got rid of the tabloids and candies and replaced them with cookbooks and hiking magazines, as well as nuts and trail mixes. We are working with the vendors to get it done."
After the Food Basket stores, the goal is to do the same at the Snappy Marts, then Albertson's and Walmart.
He also announced leadership training in August in Silver City and the Mining District. The last training graduated seven from the Mining District.
Miller suggested he get with the high school's and Western's student councils to take part in the training.
The agenda will be addressed in future articles.