By Lynn Janes

Silver City held a regular meeting May 9, 2023. The meeting started with Mayor Ken Ladner calling the meeting to order and leading the Pledge of Allegiance and salute to the New Mexico state flag. Council members attending the meeting included Jose Ray, Nicholas Prince, and Guadalupe Cano.

The council approved the agenda.

Ceremonies none currently.

Proclamations none currently.

Council comments

Cano said May 16, 2023, she, Commissioner Chris Ponce, and County Treasurer Patrick Cohn will host a town meeting at the Grant County Veterans Memorial Business and Conference Center at 6:00 pm. The reason will have to do with the homeless issue in the community. They will discuss ideas that would house them but keep residents safe.

The Outdoor Economics Conference will be held October 23-25, 2023. Cano said, “I am the vice president of Outdoor New Mexico which sponsors this conference.” The conference sells out every year and she encouraged people interested to get their tickets early.

Ray said he had attended the 6th Street School folkloric and wanted to do a story on it. He thanked the Forest Service and the city for making the tables for Nobel Park.

Prince said, “I am worried about the gross receipts and how to pay for all the services.” He has met with the officials in the town to see how they can be sure to continue the quality of life in Silver City.

Ladner thanked all that participated in Give Grandly. “The volunteers and people of the community are a valuable resource. The people with boots on the ground for not just events but committees, boards, legislature, are valuable. It is all about volunteerism.”

The council approved the minutes from the April 25, 2023, meeting.

Public input

Donna Stevens, executive director, Upper Gila Watershed Alliance, said they all supported the sale of Dorsey Springs to the US Department of Agriculture. The organization consists of approximately 300 members of which most have residences in the area. This has been in process for many years. She said last year she had walked the property with a Forest Service representative. The purpose had been to see how it could be restored. In August of 2022 they submitted grant applications with the support of the Forest Service to do restoration. The Forest Service will take out the old, barbed wire fencing and replace it with a low maintenance pipe and cable. This would keep the livestock out of the spring and improve the wildlife habitat. The new fence will cover 23 acres and a half mile of Bear Creek.

Allyson Siwik, executive director of Gila Resource Information Project and Gila Conservation Coalition, expressed their support of the sale of Dorsey Springs. She added it would help the critical habitat of the endangered loach minnow.


Alfred Sedillo, town clerk, gave the council an update on what they had been able to do with having a Facebook page. They already have a page but have not been able to find the credentials for it or who started it. They would be trying to contact Facebook for help but if they can’t they will have to start a new page with a different name.

Alex Brown, town manager, turned his report over to Code Enforcement Officer Vicki Toney. She said they currently have been researching thirteen properties. “They are under investigation.” Brown said they meet every two weeks along with the fire department and a police department representative. They discuss all the properties and how best to handle them. They have a lot going on but can’t discuss them because of the possibility of having to go to court on those properties.

Cano thanked Toney for always coming to the meetings.

Brown addressed the letter sent to the press from a person that had a problem with their water bill and specifically the sewer portion of it. They had done an update to the software in April and some increases happened that should not have. The town is in the process of making the adjustments. Brown asked people to contact them if theirs had not been corrected.

The IT person Bob Higgins retired, but Gerome Cook has taken over.

Brown wanted to recognize Jeff Fell, assistant fire chief, who would be retiring. He had been the emergency manager at the time of covid and had done an excellent job at leading the community. He would be leaving and moving to Oklahoma.

Cano said, he had always been there to answer any questions she had. “I will miss you a lot.” She thanked him for his service to not just the city but other organizations and 4-H.

Prince thanked him for his compassion, intelligence, and commitment. “It is a huge loss for us, and I wish you the best.”

Ladner said he had led the community through a difficult time.

Fell said twenty years had gone by quickly. “I grew up here and graduated here.” It has been a blessing to work in a small town with friends and family. “I have been honored to serve. I started as an EMT then fire fighter and the last ten years in administration.” He said he had already been accepted for a job at Oklahoma State University. He would be publishing products for training materials that the fire service would be using. “We will miss the area but are excited for the challenges coming.”

Brown said usually he brings budget information to the council this time of year. He has not due to waiting for the cost of the new insurance. He said he knew it would be much higher than in the past. They must find new liability insurance due to the loss of the one they had before.

Brown said he hated to do it but had to do a 4 percent water sewer increase. Sanitation he had been able to leave the same by discontinuing the green recycle containers.

Public hearings none currently.

Work session agenda

Cano wanted to continue the discussion about putting together the committee for starting the search for the new town manager. Ray asked if they needed to come up with more names than what they had in the previous work session. Prince said he had found the work sessions useful.

Unfinished business none currently.

New business

The council approved RFP (request for proposal) 22/23-SP, audit services. Brown recommended Stone and McGee. He said they had been late this year but that had to do with some health problems. He added they always do a good job.

The council approved ordinance No. 1318. This would allow the sale of Dorsey Springs to the US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Jim Reynolds, town attorney, said this process would be the same as Allen Springs. The property will sell for $60,000 and would be 40 acres, same size as Allen Springs. He added that Allen Springs would be helping the habitat for the endangered leopard frog and the city has not done anything on this property for decades.

The council approved the appointment of Rudy Bencomo as councilor for district one to replace Lucian Farmer. His appointment will be from May 9, 2023, to December 31, 2023. Ladner thanked everyone that applied and encouraged them to run in the upcoming election. Sonya Ruiz, municipal judge swore him in.

Cano said she had originally been for him but had changed her mind but would go with the council. Ray said he wanted his appointment. Prince said he felt another would be better but would work with him.

Bencomo sat with the council and said, “It is a different view up here.” He thanked the mayor and council for his approval and would do the best he could to serve the position. He added a thank you to the fire department for a quick response to a fire recently.

Ray and Prince welcomed him.

The council went into executive session with Bencomo

The council came back to open session and Ladner said no decisions had been made.

Meeting adjourned.

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