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Attendees at Commission meeting greeted by Sheriff's officers

Upon entering the Grant County Commission Chambers, attendees were greeted by Sheriff's officers, who ran a wand over each person for security purposes, which were precipitated by the presence of an individual, who spoke later in the meeting.

At the beginning of the Grant County Commission meeting, Chairman Brett Kasten called for a moment of silence for Cobre Schools teacher Jesse Montes, "who died way too young," Kasten said.

Resolutions were moved to the beginning of the meeting to accommodate Perry Bendicksen III from Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck in Albuquerque, who needed to return to northern New Mexico.



The first resolution authorized the execution and delivery of a loan agreement and intercept agreement for $96,131 with the New Mexico Finance Authority for a water tanker truck for Cliff-Gila Volunteer Fire Department.

County Manager Jon Paul Saari explained the agreement was already in process before NMFA had its audit problems. "They have money in the bank for smaller loans. The loan will be intercepted from the Fire Protection Excise Funds. No money will come out of our General Fund."

The second resolution was approved. It supports the project to create a Vocational Career Center somewhere in Grant County, as well as funding from the Economic Development Department. Sen. Howie Morales passed Senate Memorial 65 to support the planning for such a center. Western New Mexico University created a committee of public school and community members, which continues to meet on the project. Saari said the committee is looking at various sites for the center.

Bendicksen said he was there to support and explain the notice of intent to adopt an ordinance to authorize the issuance of a series of hospital and gross receipts tax revenue bonds to expand and renovate Gila Regional Medical Center at a cost of just over $34 million.

"These may be bank-qualified bonds, which would be attractive to local banks," Bendicksen said. "We are also considering other types of bonds after the first of next year. This resolution does not commit you to this type of bond."

Saari explained that the bank-qualified bonds are restricted to $10 million in a calendar year. "If we do a bond now, we could do another after the first of the year for another $10 million."

"I appreciate the county's support," GRMC Chief Executive Officer Brian Bentley said.

Kasten said: "It is important to have a quality health facility here."

In financial reports, the General Fund, at the end of September had a cash balance of $2,481,769, with a projected balance at the end of the fiscal year on June 20, 2013, of $2,371,891 minus the required three-twelfths reserve of $2,105,342, leaving a surplus of $266,549.

Saari said 10.14 percent of revenues have been collected to date and no transfers have yet been made out of the General Fund. "They usually occur after the new calendar year begins."

The Road Fund had, as of the end of September, $267,006, with an anticipated surplus of $189,070 at the end of the fiscal year.

The Corrections Fund, as of Sept. 20, had $31,689, with an anticipated surplus at the end of June of $76,342. No transfers from the General Fund have been made to the Corrections Fund.

The expenditure report showed that expenditures of $3,606,306.21 had been made. Saari explained that the large amount was due to the quarterly indigent payment of $2,206,481.32 and a remodel payment of $166,973.49 for the Business and Conference Center.

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(From left, Commissioners Gabriel Ramos and Christy Miller,and Chairman Brett Kasten deliver the proclamation to Judge Henry Quintero, second from right.)

Kasten read, commissioners approved, and Sixth Judicial District Judge Henry Quintero accepted a proclamation designating Oct. 22-26 Pro Bono Week. Quintero said during that week many attorneys from the area provide pro bono legal services for those who cannot afford them.

"This year, we are having no speeches on Oct. 24, just lots of attorneys willing to give advice," Quintero said. "I appreciate the continued support of the county."

Commissioners approved an inventory deletion request from the Pinos Altos Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department for removal of a portable water tank.

Saari said the item, after being offered to other VFDs, would be moved to the Road Department for auction. "I don't think the other departments will want it, because they all have water tanker trucks now."

Approved was an Emergency Medical Services Funds Act Local System Improvement Project application for the Tyrone VFR for volunteer training.  Saari said the department would also transfer an ambulance to Hachita to use for intercept by Deming or GRMC. The funding has a 10 percent match, which will come out of Fire Excise Tax funds.

Commissioners approved a Sole Community Provider Supplemental payment from GRMC for $676,065,88. "GRMC pays it, the county sends it to the state, and GRMC will receive a 3-1 match for the funds. The money offsets the costs of care for indigent and low-income residents," Saari said.

The payment is made from the gross receipts tax for the sole community provider. The tax is levied by the county, which owns the hospital. "Anything in excess of the GRT, can be paid by GRMC," Saari said.

Robert Floyd, representing the Viva Santa Rita Subdivision, was the reason for the heightened security, as he had threatened several people at the last meeting he attended.

"I want to give my honest and sincere apology," Floyd said, "for failing everybody here. I'm sorry."

He then went into a ramble on rights upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Kasten asked for him to stick to the roads issue, and Floyd said he would if interruptions would stop. "I submit that the attorney works for us all. If he is doing things against my interest, he needs to think about it. Everything is going away, including a possible SOR facility, which will be built elsewhere."

Editor's Note: Floyd did not explain what SOR was, and he left soon after his presentation.

The rest of the meeting, which included county reports, will follow in a separate article.

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