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Commissioners hear rest of county reports and financial reports

At the Grant County Commission meeting Tuesday morning, county reports were moved to the front, so that a report on how county money was spent by one recipient, could be heard. The report was covered in the first article of this series.

In a continuation of county reports, Interim Detention Center Administrator Joseph Andazola, said programming would start at the jail next week. Literacy Link-Leamos will continue its tutoring, and a re-entry program will be introduced.

"We will hire two full-time officers and a temporary officer," Andazola said. "We are looking at getting medical coverage in the facility and are talking to Gila Regional Medical Center. We will do a policy with the Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments and will be able to get certified through the COG. People are donating books and volunteering at the facility. It is a lot more secure than the old facility."

 


Road Superintendent Earl Moore said his department is doing daily maintenance and has completed a couple of low-water crossings. With some money left over from a project in Redrock, he plans to do another low-water crossing.

"Next week, we will help chipseal Bayard's streets, and will get to Hachita soon for a solid waste transfer station," Moore said.

Anthony Gutierrez, whose discussion about the Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan was covered in the first article, said that the Environment Department had concerns about work that had been done in anticipation of flooding after the Whitewater-Baldy Fire earlier this summer.

"They want us to remove sediment from the flood plain," Gutierrez said. "We will as soon as it is dried up a bit. Fortunately, although we have had heavy rains, it was not enough for the flooding that was anticipated."

He said he still has to deal with the rights-of-way across state land for the State Land Office.

Treasurer Alfred Sedillo said his office had collected $11.72 million for a 94.8 percent collection rate of this year's taxes. The funds not allocated to the county are disbursed to the schools and municipalities for which they are collected.

"Letters of delinquent properties are going to the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department," Sedillo said. "The properties are delinquent from 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. The sale of the properties is set for January. We can help if you want to pay the delinquent taxes. Call us at 575-574-0055. "

He also warned people whose addresses have changed to notify his office, so that the properties do not become delinquent from not receiving tax notices.

Assessor Randy Villa talked about the tax rates. "I ran the new rates through the yield control formula to make sure they are correct," he said. "They are correct." School rates have risen in the Cobre School District because they have to pay off some school bonds for school construction, and the funding must be raised within the educational system.

"With the county's approval, I can send the rates to the treasurer," Villa said. The rates were approved.

The state 2012 tax rate dropped from the 2011 rate of 0.001362 to 0.001360. The county residential rate rose from 0.006112 to 0.006284; non-residential stayed the same at 0.0011850; and the county debt service dropped from 20011's rate of 0.001752 to the 2012 rate of 0.001510. School rates dropped or remained stable in the Silver District, but rose substantially in the Cobre District.

Sheriff Raul Villanueva said during August his officers answered 368 calls. He looks forward to the end of summer, so "we can catch up."

Clerk Robert Zamarripa said about 3,000 ballots have been returned for the special election to retain the 1/8 gross receipts tax for Dispatch and 911 services.

"That's a 14 percent return rate," Zamarripa said. "We will take ballots until Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. We still had a lot of undeliverable mail, so if you have not received a ballot, call us at 575-574-0042 or come by the office to vote."

He said early voting for the general election would begin Oct. 9. Zamarripa also said that with approval by the Commission, the question about Sunday liquor sales by the drink would be on the ballot. He also said he has a new employee, Liz Gomez.

Grant County Manager Jon Paul Saari presented the financial reports for the end of July. At the beginning of the month, the balance was $3,707,696. With revenues year-to-date of $247,779 and operating expenditures YTD of $394,801 and salaries of benefits YTD of $431,600 during the month of July, it ended with a balance of $3,129,074.

Projected revenues and operating expenditures, along with projected salaries and benefits, will leave the county with a projected cash balance of $2.301,129 on June 30. 2013, minus the required three-twelfths cash reserve of $2,105,342 leaves the county with a projected surplus on June 30, 2013 of $195,787.

Commissioners approved support of several of the New Mexico Association of Counties' legislative priorities for the 2013 session.

They include local government database royalties payments. Clerk Robert Zamarripa said his office has no problem providing data to the public, but companies buy the data for pennies on the dollar and then turn around and sell it for large amounts of money. The bill, as requested by the Clerks' Affiliate would request royalties be paid when the data is sold.

The Commissioners' Affiliate has three priorities the county supports. They are traffic violation reform, which would decriminalize some traffic violations to keep offenders out of jail; emergency medical services funding; fireworks licensing and safety, which would give authority to local governments to manage the sales and use during a drought.

The Treasurer's Affiliate will ask for a change of the word "may" to "should hold delinquent property sales. We are three years behind. Socorro County is 12 years behind," Treasurer Alfred Sedillo said.

The Assessor's Affiliate will ask for data on residential and non-residential real property sales.

Villa said the NMAC will lobby for the top ones, but nothing prevents the county from lobbying for other priorities. "I just got an email that solid waste is on the radar, too."

Ramos said the Southwest Alliance of County Commissioners approved support of the governor to take troubled wolves out of the southwestern part of the state. "I emphasize this is to take out troubled wolves that attack cattle, hang around people's homes and knock over trash bins. We are not authorizing cutting off the Wolf Recovery program.

Ramos also said Infant Jesus Catholic Church in Hurley was designated a diocesan shrine last weekend. It will bring in tourists from all over the country. The only other one in the state is Chimayo.

Miller reminded people that the County Fair will take place Sept. 26-29.

Kasten reported he met with the bond council on the Gila Regional Medical Center proposed expansion and renovation for $38 million.

"We also requested from Property Control Division that we be able to use the theater on the old Fort Bayard campus during the renovations at the Business and Conference Center," Kasten said. "We also asked for the old trailer park, so we can turn it into an RV park for visitors. We met yesterday with (Sen.) Howie (Morales), and (Representatives) Rudy (Martinez) and Dianne (Hamilton) to go over the ICIP."

Saari said he had received complaints that the county was taking business away from individuals. "We don't want to run an RV Park, so we are not competing. A private individual will run it. We try to put in the infrastructure, so an individual can run it."

"We've also received complaints about possible overnight camping at the proposed reservoir," Saari said. "A local business will run it."

"It's simple economics," Ramos said. "People come in and spend money."

Miller expressed concern about whether if all the commissioners receive an email and reply to all, is it a violation of the Open Meetings Act.

Saari said it would have the appearance of a rolling quorum, unless the commissioner replies only to the individual. Then no one is in violation.

The next meeting will be at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25.

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