By Lynn Janes

The town of Bayard held a regular town meeting April 25, 2022. The meeting started with Mayor Chon Fierro calling the meeting to order and leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Attendance at the meeting included Mayor Chon Fierro, Mayor Pro tem Raul Villanueva and councilors, Eloy Medina, Jose Diaz and Frances Gonzales.

Before the meeting started a brief work session took place to address several points in the regular meeting.

The council approved the agenda for the meeting with a few changes. Approval of accounts payable was removed due to the report not being ready. They added in swearing in of the new police chief for whenever the judge got there, and the education proclamation moved to new business.

Public input

Joe Stone, a resident of Dayhill Street, asked the council for an update on the street repairs. Anthony Aveles, maintenance supervisor answered the question. He explained that they had equipment issues and some water issues that needed to be addressed. He said they should have it done by the end of May.

A Mr. Jimenez thanked the council and Aveles for how great the little league field looked. He said he thanked them on behalf of Copper Lily Little League. He also thanked the council for changing the meeting time so he could attend more often.

Villanueva said for this time he would be putting on his EMS hat. He let the council know that the current building that the ambulance staff uses is being closed because of fire ordinance issues. They need some options because the cost to bring the building up to code is far too high. It needs an alarm system, sprinkler system, more exits, etc. They are working with the hospital to figure something out, but Bayard needs to keep an ambulance in the town for the mining district.

Fierro told Villanueva to let them know what they can do. He, too, said Bayard needs to keep an ambulance in the town to cover the mining district. Diaz added to the importance of keeping an ambulance in the town.

Judge Jose Sandoval arrived to swear in Hector Carrillo. Both the judge and Fierro swore in Carrillo as police chief. Carrillo thanked them and the council and thanked them for the opportunity.

Consent agenda

The council approved the regular meeting minutes from April 11, 2022, and the police report for March 2022

Old business

Next on the agenda had been Senator Siah Correa Hemphill and Representative Luis Terrazas but they didn't attend.

The council approved the issuance of credit cards for the fire department. In the work session they discussed having fleet cards and Kristine Ortiz, clerk, said she had been looking into it.

The council approved the education proclamation. The proclamation makes May 2-6 Appreciation of Teachers Week. The council asked everyone to support it any way that they could.

The council approved the use of the park to distribute sack lunches for the summer lunch program. Alma Grijalva, student nutrition director, made the request. The lunch program will run June 6, 2022, to July 14, 2022, Monday to Thursday, 11:30-12:30. Diaz had asked that they make sure and clean up the park afterwards.

The council approved the debt repayment of two colonias loans (NMFA – New Mexico Finance Authority) and a wastewater (NMED- New Mexico Environemental Department) loan. Ortiz said by paying these small loans off it makes them look better for future project grants and loans. The loans all together are approximately $52,000. She said with all the work done in the past the town had not increased the rates to the residents but will have to in the future.

The council approved the March 31, 2022, financial statements and resolution 15-2022 budget adjustments. The adjustments were discussed in the work session. Ortiz gave the council a run down on the documents she had provided them. The town started last year with $6.2 million and ended with $7.1 million but the increase had to do with grant money they are holding for projects not yet completed, about $2 million. They have $1.6 million in the general fund. Ortiz explained she will be holding $200,000 back for possible charge back on gross receipts. She said the law has been changing and she thinks the town got overpaid and the state will want it back. She went through each account and explained the amounts.

The council approved the new work reporting policy for the police department with a lot of discussion. Currently the police department uses a time clock. Carrillo explained the new policy will use dispatch radio call in for off and on duty. He said he has access to that log. Ortiz added it will be also matched to the GPS of the police vehicle.

Diaz said he had questions and concerns because in the past this policy had been done and abused. He suggested that it be audited regularly. They discussed the new CAD (computer aided dispatch) system coming soon. Diaz said he understood but they didn't have it right now.

Gonzales said she wanted more detailed procedures. She said in the past the town had a lot to answer for because of misuse. She offered to help the new police chief because she had experience with law enforcement in the past. She asked if they understood the CAD system, and do they understand they have to call in. Carrillo said they did, and Ortiz said some of the things Gonzales is asking are already covered. Gonzales said, as a council person, "I do not agree." Ortiz went on to explain it had all been covered. Diaz said they just need to have things clarified more. Carrillo went on to clarify and explain why this method would be better using examples of situations. He also added that the time clock didn't work anyway.

The council rejected the bid for repairs and renovations to the public safety building. The only bid received came from Stantec and came in at $419,000. The engineer had put it at $95,000. The town will advertise for the project again.

Ordinances and resolutions

The council approved resolution 14-2022 local transportation fund. This had to do with the N. Foy Street project and to move forward with it.

No closed session held concerning Aaron Ordonez.

The council approved the hours due Aaron Ordonez, who quit in January.

Mayor and councilors reports

Gonzales said she had attended the housing meeting last week. She said they were organized and she was impressed with their work. She said that the budget meeting May 19 should be changed. She reminded the council of the candidate forum in Mimbres and since Villanueva and Medina are running, they wouldn't be able to attend the budget meeting. Ortiz asked if they could change it to May 18 and they all agreed to change it. Ortiz said she would post the change in the paper. Gonzales also wanted to welcome the new police chief.

Diaz asked Aveles when the bathrooms at the Little League Field would be done. Aveles said he didn't know, it depended on other projects and anything coming up, but is doing his best. Diaz pointed out that the porta potties had been turned over. Aveles said he had called Humphreys and they came out and took care of it. Carrillo said he would start a regular patrolling of the area.

Aveles apologized to Stone again for the street repairs delay and said they were hoping to have it done soon. He then asked the council about the water theft problems. Ortiz said right now they must go through the courts and by then the people are gone. They are looking at new policies and procedures to fix the problem. One possibility being looked at would be raising the deposit to $200 and cutting off service until fees are paid. Aveles pointed out the cost of meters being high. Gonzales asked how many had been vandalized and Aveles said 8-10. Aveles said vandalism is costing the town a lot but more than that getting the equipment needed has become increasingly hard. He said some items ordered in October are barely getting to them now.

Jason Jaeger from the wastewater plant said everything has been at a standstill because of waiting for parts. He gave the council a rundown of all the pumps and their condition. He explained he had been using old pumps to replace pumps that have quit. He said he didn't have any more stockpiled and this could be a problem.

Villanueva pointed out this could become a real problem. "The wastewater plant is major infrastructure and close attention needs to be paid."

Jaeger said there is no plan if these go down and the town will be in trouble.

Fierro said he had called the lieutenant governor to ask for help and he has not returned the call. He said he then called the governor's office but not received any response.

Jaeger said the town needs backups. It used to be easy to get parts but now it takes months to get it.

Gonzales said they need to get with the legislators and explain the urgency of the situation.

Jaeger said a lot of towns are having these problems especially the small ones. The big cities can afford to buy large quantities whereas as a small town can't, so the suppliers cover the large towns.

Ortiz pointed out that many of the parts are obsolete so they would have to do new systems which would then require an engineer to redo.

Villanueva said the town needed to start looking at loans and find a way to fix this.

Ortiz reminded all the department heads to get in their budget requests.

Fierro thanked the new police chief and the maintenance department.

Villanueva announced the information about fire restrictions currently. No fireworks should be allowed, and they needed to do a resolution.

Upcoming budget work session will be April 28, 2022, May 12 and 18, 2022 at 5:30 pm
Next regular meeting will be May 9, 2022, at 5:30 pm

Meeting adjourned.

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