By Alexis Rico

The City of Bayard Council met for a regular session meeting on September 28, 2020, via Zoom at 2:00 p.m. Present for the meeting were Mayor Pro-Tem Raul Villanueva, Councilor Charles Kelly, Councilor Eloy Medina, and Councilor Adrian Ortiz. Mayor Chon Fierro was out of town and could not attend the meeting.

The council began the meeting with the review and approval of the agenda for the meeting.

As there was no public input for the meeting, the next item reviewed and approved by the Council was the consent agenda.

The consent agenda consisted of:
• Approval of the Minutes of Regular Meeting on September 14, 2020
• Approval of Accounts Payable Report for September 28, 2020
• Approval of Police Report for August 2020
• Resignation of Nicole Tavizon effective October 2, 2020.

Under New Business, the council reviewed and discussed the action for the tree removal fee for municipal property located on McKee Street.

Clerk-Treasurer Kristina Ortiz explained to the council that this item was about the maintenance and the removal of the trees for the property on McKee Street.

"I requested a fee from a local business to remove large trees from the McKee since these trees are overgrown and are not very nice looking," Ortiz stated. "The cost estimate is right under $20,000."

Ortiz stated that she had asked the individual to put a bid to remove everything from the property which will include removing all the trees that they can to possibly help bring down the cost. The Town is wanting to take down most of the trees in this area except for the trees near the Alvarado property as this will affect his property.

"My recommendation to work with the contractor as soon as possible," Ortiz said. "This funding would come out of the general funds."

It was discussed that it would be up to the Council on how they wanted to proceed with the project as they have gotten a few complaints from the residents in this area about the overgrowth of branches getting into their properties. There is also concern about the trees being overgrown and the roots are messing up some of the cement and some branches are being entangled in some of the wires in the property. The Council decided to postpone this item as an effort to speak with Mr. Alvarado about the trees, the concerns of the project, and for more information on the project before moving forward.

The next item the Council discussed was the Award of the construction contract to D & J Pump and Well Services LLC for the total cost of $123,213.40 contingent upon approval by NMED.

Ortiz did note during the meeting that the cost estimate listed is incorrect as the contractor had added in the bid bond as was requested. Ortiz had thought he had added in the 5 percent tax, as well, but it was not included in the cost estimate.

"So, we still need to add the 5 percent tax," Ortiz said. "So, it is right under $130,000 for this project and it will be paid out of the Colonias funding," Ortiz said.

The council approved this item.

The next item discussed was the approval of a budget adjustment to reflect CARES Act Funding - governmental funds of $556,661 and small business funds of $93,188.

"We received the government business funds award allocation through the CARES act that is being distributed through the New Mexico State Government funds," Ortiz stated.

Ortiz stated that the items proposed for the governmental side were vehicles for city employees in order to help maintain social distancing, modification to the police station by moving the secretary away from the holding cells and adding in the cubicles for the officers to have their area to work in.

Ortiz also stated that with the funds she will be working on residential care packets for residents which will include facemasks, disinfecting wipes, hand soap, gloves, and hand sanitizer. Ortiz stated that these residential care packets will also go out to residents in Hurley, North Hurley, Santa Clara, and the Hanover area. PPE and sanitary supplies for the government and the fire department will also be purchased with the funds. One of the potential distributions is to aid in the purchase of a new ambulance for the EMS in the mining district.

Ortiz stated that she would also like to work on funds for small businesses as well. She will be working with the Chamber of Commerce to collect the data on businesses that want to work with that funding.

"I'm trying to help out as best as we can," Ortiz said. "One part of the government side is going to be establishing grant assistance for utilities. We haven't finished compiling the process yet. We are working with Santa Clara and Hurley to find a way to base the same process to use."

Ortiz stated that to receive assistance or the residential care packets the residents will have to submit an application and proof of how the COVID virus has affected them and their funding, such as unemployment proof.

With the previous item, the Council also approved the adoption of Resolution 24-2020 for the New Mexico Cares Act Funding.

The Council also improved the removal from the introductory period effective on October 3, 2020, with a $.50 per hour wage increase for Adrian Badillo.

For Mayor and Councilor reports, Councilor Eloy Medina asked Ortiz about looking into making changes in procedures in the employee manual in reflection to the department heads and employees in regards to hours worked and the possibility of the Town paying for the insurance of employees.

Ortiz stated that she was working on reevaluating the benefits package of all employees.

Mayor Pro-Tem Raul Villanueva wanted to thank all the staff for their continued efforts and work in this difficult time.

Police Chief Lee Alirez informed the Council that Hurley Mayor Ed Stevens had asked for a proposal of consolidating the Hurley and Bayard police departments to aid in law enforcement coverage and service to both areas. Alirez explained to the council about the work of the officers in the area and how this proposal will help in the process of training and certifying officers. Alirez wants to keep up the momentum and the service of the officers in Bayard. He is excited about the thought of the proposal and what it can do for both of the communities.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:25 p.m.

The next regular meeting for the Bayard City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, October 13, 2020.