The Grant County Commission at its work session Tuesday, Nov. 6, reviewed the Regular Meeting agenda, which will be acted upon at the 9 a.m. meeting on Thursday, Nov. 8, at the Grant County Administration Center.

The first item on the agenda is a public hearing on an ordinance authorizing the issuance of Grant County, New Mexico, hospital and gross receipts tax revenue bonds in the amount not exceeding $10 million for the Gila Regional Medical Center renovation and expansion project.

County Manager Jon Paul Saari explained the bond issuance would be based on competitive bids for private placement of the bonds.

After the public hearing, the commissioners will recess to attend an event at José Barrios Elementary School honoring veterans. After the event, commissioners will recess and reconvene at the Administration Center.

The expenditure report for $1,053,312.71 will be considered at the regular meeting. The large amount includes the periodic sole community provider expense, as well as the expenditure of Stonegarden grant funds for five Chevy Tahoes for the Sheriff's Department.

County Planner Anthony Gutierrez said expenses also include site feasibility studies by Angelou Economics for an industrial park. The personnel sought locations with rail access, close to the Interstate and near the airport. They have identified three possible sites, one near the airport, another near Hurley and one adjacent to Hurley. "They went through 12 sites. Then we will do preliminary engineering reports."

The next agenda item is a certificate of recognition for Debbie Rogers, who has served as the 2012 president of the REALTORS Association of New Mexico.

Commissioners will appoint to the Food Policy Council a new member, Azima Lila Forest, and approve the re-appointment of Anthony Gutierrez and Carolyn Smith.

Three amendments to agreements for professional surveillance and bracelet monitoring services at the Juvenile Probation Office, will decrease funding for Felix Ortega by $10,000 and increase by $5,000 each to Luis Alvarado and Daniel Ziegler.

A budget adjustment for Corre Caminos will take money from administrative costs to capital costs for computers.

"We also have two grants to replace two buses for best gas mileage, longevity and best for users," Saari said. "We have a hard time hiring Commercial Driver's License drivers because we pay only $11 an hour."

The program, which is now housed under Grant County, will consider utilizing school bus drivers between their regular school bus routes.

Commission Chairman Brett Kasten pointed out that other competition for CDL drivers is his bus service, which contracts with Cobre Schools, and truckers.

Commissioners, as the Grant County Indigent and Health Care Claims Board will consider 701 claims for $623,574.39, with five being out-of-county claims for $5775.29.

During county reports, Sheriff Raul Villanueva said his department is in the process of hiring a deputy to replace one who resigned. The Civil Process Division served 657 papers last month.

Assessor Randy Villa said he would attend the New Mexico Association of Counties and the Municipal League executive board meetings.

Saari spoke for Treasurer Alfred Sedillo, "who is busy in his office. It's tax season." He requested those who have not received their tax bills to call his office. They can also check online for their tax bills.

Senior Services Director Terry Trujillo invited seniors to attend the Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 21 at Silver City and Santa Clara and on Nov. 15 at Gila and Mimbres. The centers will be closed on Thanksgiving Thursday and Friday.

Gutierrez said he did preliminary surveys at subdivisions requesting road maintenance. "I found some issues on Loma Verde, with fences encroaching on the easement. I have recommended the county survey the area. I'm getting quotes on the survey and on where the utilities are. The worst are at the low-water crossing."

He said the other subdivision, Viva Santa Rita, was simpler, because it didn't seem like there were encroachments. "The roads aren't as bad as I thought they would be. They just need some base course. I will get out to Muleshoe."

Gutierrez said Dolores Dominguez is working with Loma Verde on questions, such as how much the residents will pay for the assessment district and how long they can stretch out the payments.

"I am in the process of working on a brownfields application for Fort Bayard," Gutierrez said. "It will include a feasibility and site assessment on how much work is needed in order to utilize Fort Bayard."

He pointed out that Community Development Block Grant applications are coming up. He said the executive director set an arbitrary deadline of Dec. 1 for communities to have their audits into the state to make sure they are eligible.

Gutierrez attended an infrastructure finance conference, where he said he concentrated on the finance part. The stress at the conference was on public/private partnerships. "There was huge stress on communities investing in their own future." He noted that in northern New Mexico, communities are "vibrant, because they invested in their own communities. I will be looking at the possibilities."

"It was disappointing to me to come back and see us stagnant," Gutierrez said. "My personal opinion is that we need to upgrade infrastructure, such as roads. We need a place for a business to go into without a lost of startup costs."

He said work on the Gila River continues to have issues with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the New Mexico Environment Department. "I'm trying to make them happy, but it's not working. We need an interagency meeting. I want a bottom-line document so we can get done what we need to do. It's getting worse, instead of better. I tell them I'm trying to do the best thing for the area, but they sit up in offices in Albuquerque and think we don't know what we're doing."

Kasten said he met with U.S. Sen. Tom Udall's chief of staff and he is working the issue from that angle.

"They claim we're in violation of the Clean Waters Act," Gutierrez said. "The Army Corps of Engineers said we're not. I will send photos and documents."

Kasten said Melanie Goodman of Udall's office should be invited to the interagency meeting.

The next article will conclude county reports.

Live from Silver City

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The Grant County Beat continues to bring you new columnists. New this past week are the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

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The Beat has a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

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