By Lynn Janes

The town of Bayard held its regular town meeting September 13, 2021. The meeting started with a short work session discussing the new cannabis ordinance stemming from the new state regulations passed allowing both medical and recreational use of cannabis. Town Clerk Kristy Ortiz gave the council the proposed ordinance and the NM regulations to compare. Ortiz said the density restrictions really were not important to the town because they had such a small business district. The location gave them the ability to restrict any cannabis business to be at least 300 feet from a school or daycare. Both schools are right next to the business district and that would not work for the town. Operating times were set the same as liquor laws. The council wanted to keep in line with what the other communities were doing. The only one that has passed an ordinance so far is Santa Clara.

The regular meeting started with Mayor Pro Tem Raul Villanueva calling the meeting to order and leading the Pledge of Allegiance.

Attendance at the meeting included Mayor Pro tem Raul Villanueva, and councilors Charles Kelly and Adrian Ortiz. Mayor Chon Fierro and councilor Eloy Medina were not in attendance.

Councilors approved the agenda for the meeting.

Public Input

Mr. Rios, a 50-year resident of Bayard, stood up. He said he was tired of the trash houses in the community and specifically the one behind his house had to deal with. He said he has been complaining and talking to the mayor and council several times and still nothing had happened. The property is a fire hazard. There had already been a fire, and he had stood outside his house with a hose trying to keep it back from his property. Villanueva asked if he had photos and he said yes and brought them up. Rios became very upset and demanded some action.

Ortiz said they were in the process of sending out 1500 letters to all residents about cleaning yards up and removing debris and broken-down cars. Villanueva said he had been driving around and saw that people were starting to step up to take care of their properties. He said it could not happen overnight but was a work in progress and they were on it. Interim Police Chief Joe Carlos said they are going after the problem. Red warnings have already been put on the properties of the worst offenders. He said he was only one person and was working as fast as he could on it. Villanueva said: "If you know anyone who owns a vacant property, please bring us their contact information to help speed up the process."

Mr. Perez spoke up that he was thankful to the first responders when he had a heart attack. He said they were great and saved his life.

Steven Gabarie spoke up that he was very concerned about a vacant property near him. People are living in an abandoned RV and a lot of people are going in and out all night. Villanueva asked him to please call the police when that was happening so they could go check on it.

The problem with the railroad crossings and potholes was brought up. Ortiz said they could add that on the ICIP list. She also said she had been trying to contact the owners of the railroad to get permission or ask that they fix the crossings. She said she had not been able to get them to call back, they are not local. DOT has given Ortiz some other contacts to try that she will be using next. The potholes have been fixed but not correctly. Someone in the meeting said: "We need permission from the railroad, but we have to pay." Ortiz said there were problems because there had never been any kind of agreement with them. Villanueva said to give him and the mayor the contacts and maybe the railroad would be better at returning their phone calls.

The council approved the minutes for the regular meeting August 23, 2021, and ICIP work session.

The council approved Joe Carlos' Police training in Rio Rancho on September 27-October 1

The council approved a letter of resignation for Hector Arzate.

Old Business

Concerning a complaint Virginia Street residents made at the last meeting requesting a code enforcement for clean-up of vehicles, hazardous waste, sharp debris, and abandoned mobile homes, Mrs. Pacheco a resident of the area said nothing had been done and the situation was getting worse. She said they have no way to move the vehicles and she is worried for the kids. Carlos said the situation is now in the judges' hands. Villanueva ask her if she had called the police about the kids. Mrs. Pacheco said she had but got central dispatch and they could not help because it was Bayard. Villanueva said the town has a problem with not enough officers to cover everything.

New Business

Arturo Alday requested a new business license for 202 Hurley Ave to do general mechanic work. The council expressed concern over the numerous cars on the property and that was what they were trying to stop. Carlos said he had moved the RV. Mr. Alday agreed not to store cars and would keep only a few there that were long time restorations. The council approved his license.

Beautification committee appointments to be made. Ortiz met with the members and although she and the town are very appreciative of their efforts, they were not doing what the committee was put together to do. They were doing fundraisers for Thanksgiving dinners for the needy. Ortiz explained that the committee was created in 1984 from the environment ordinance to beautify the city for weed and debris removal. Ortiz had them all resubmit letters of interest and she had currently received six of them back. The persons submitting letters of interest included Frances Gonzales, Betty Lambert, James Irwin, Mark Villas, Doug Newman, and Eloy Gonzales. The council approved them all. The city allowance is 7-10 members, but Ortiz feels she will receive the others shortly.

A work session was held August 30, 2021, for the Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan. This is a plan used at the state level when requesting capital outlay.

#1 Street improvements on N Foy to Cooper and Alta Vista. It is a dirt road and has a lot of problems with drainage. The town has already received monies for design and now needs approximately $1 million to finish. They want $1 million a year to improve all the streets. It costs about $150,000 for one block.

#2 The towns one-million-gallon water tank on the hill needs repairs. They have $529,000 set aside and need an additional $1 million to go forward on the project.

#3 The town's wastewater pipes need replacement. Currently they have projects going but have more to do. They asked for money last year to continue replacement and didn't get it. Hopefully this year.

#4 Railroad crossings and potholes need repairs as talked about earlier in the meeting. Ortiz guesstimates it will cost $1 million for the Vanadium Street crossing and Poplar Street crossing. This also includes proper repair of potholes.

#5 McKee Street and S Foy Street have drainage problems that need to be fixed. They are all on private property and will cost approximately $2.5 million. Ortiz said that whatever they could get from the state they are hoping to get FEMA to match it and they will be able to do the project.

#6 The roof on the Public Safety building needs to be fixed. They are looking for $450,000 from the legislature.

#7 Recreational and property improvements. The town has money set aside but not enough to do the projects. They want to build a concession stand, bathrooms, and board room at the baseball field. The librarian has a project she will also be applying for.

Villanueva would like to have the mayor's input on this list, but Ortiz said it must be done by Wednesday September 15, 2021. The council approved the list.

George Esqueda of Stantec, Inc gave the council an update on all the projects they are working on. Esqueda first introduced a new employee that they would be working with from time to time, Anthony Gutierrez. They had a $65,000 grant from DOT for the N Foy to Alta Vista Project and needed matching funds of $3,270 from the town. The city should have the award letter from the DOT any day. They can then move them into shovel ready and able to start looking for a contractor.

NM 356, Foy to Hurley, improving ADA ramps and sidewalks. They are working with Ortiz to set up meetings with property owners for approval.

NM 356 & 180 lighting project. They were supposed to have it done for the holiday 2021 season but could not finish it. Everything is being held up. Once ordered it takes ten to twelve weeks to just get the poles. They will be able to have them done by April or May 2022. Each pole will have an electrical outlet for decorations. They are replacing every other one and all fixtures with LED lighting. The DOT contract ends at the end of the year but because of delays they will have to ask for an extension. Esqueda does not see a problem with that.

Resealing the stucco and repair of roof proposal will be ready middle of next week.

Shade structure proposal will be done next week.

On Friday they will submit a reservoir rehab for the one-million-gallon tank. They will also need an approval from the Environmental Department.

The council approved the continuance of all the projects.

Ordinances and Resolutions

Resolution 17-2021 Infrastructure Capital Improvements Plan. The council voted to approve.

Resolution 18-2021 Pearl Street property vacation and conveyance between the City of Bayard and Amelia Alvarado. It is just a swap of the same amount of property for another without any money exchange. It fixes a problem that benefits both parties.

Cannabis Regulation Ordinance approved by the council with the minor changes discussed before the meeting started.

Repeal of Section 26-6 of the city ordinance. This ordinance had to do with possession of marijuana with a penalty. With the new laws passed by the state this is illegal.

Action for Personnel

The council approved a $.25 hourly raise for David Palomarez and William Welcome and removal from their introductory period. The council also approved a promotion of $.75 for Mark Diaz

The mayor and councilors didn't have any reports to give currently. Villanueva wanted to thank everyone for their participation and all that they had done. Ortiz said the 1500 letters being sent out were asking people to clean up their property and remove debris. She also added that the city would be removing the extra debris at no charge in the months of September and October. The debris needed to be bagged and the owner/resident needed to call the city to schedule the pickup.

Villanueva ask if anyone had anything else to ask and a woman stood up and asked about the vandalism to the library. Villanueva said it was not as bad as social media had made it but was being addressed and the librarian was checking the cameras.

The next regular meeting will take place September 27, 2021.

Meeting Adjourned.