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Commissioners Gabriel Ramos, Brett Kasten and Christy Miller recognize Debbie Rogers, second from right, for her service as 2012 New Mexico Raaltors Association president.

The Grant County Commission met in its final regular meeting of the year Thursday, Dec. 13.

A change was made to the agenda to table an item concerning a memorandum of understanding between the county and the Grant County Community Health Council for the council to review funding requests that come to the county.  

County Manager Jon Paul Saari said it would be tabled to refine language.


During public input, County Planner Anthony Gutierrez, said that, as a resident of the Cliff-Gila Valley, he wanted to thank Commissioner Christy Miller for her years of service. "You can tell when someone cares about her constituents."

Hueteotl Lopez, Silver City resident and father of two boys at José Barrios Elementary School, said he knew the commissioners attended the veterans ceremony at the school and knew it was a nice ceremony. "There has been a misunderstanding. We did not try to stop the ceremony. We wanted to have it toned down and made age-appropriate. My family has been here since the Civil War and has a long military history. But some who are pro-war wanted to make the students memorize military cadence songs. This year our concerns were taken into account, and the ceremony was toned down."

He said there were no pictures of military hardware shown. "It was not our intent to cancel the ceremony, and this year, we were heard. Elementary schools are not places for recruiting. Leave that to high schools. My son asked why bullying could not be tied to adults." Lopez gave each commissioner a packet of essays written by the students.

Saari gave the cash flow analysis, which shows the general fund, at the end of October, to have $2,137.767 in cash, with an expected surplus at the end of the fiscal year, ending June 30, 2013, of $315,545. For more details on the various county funds, go to http://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/8336-grant-county-commission-hears-proposal-on-mou-with-health-council .

The expenditure report for a month, since the last regular meeting, included three payroll periods in the amount of $432,067.37, for a total in expenditures of $2,362,868.74, including $237,000 for construction at the County Business and Conference Center and $153,000 in improvements at the Grant County Airport.

In new business, the commissioners presented Debbie Rogers with a certificate recognizing her for her service as 2012 president of the Realtors Association of New Mexico.

The County Commission and officials heard from auditor Mike Stone on the state acceptance of the county's 2010 audit, which was later approved by the commissioners.

"It took us a while to balance the cash, but I gave the audit an unqualified approval on cash balance and on meeting federal requirements," Stone said. "It was important to get the cash balances caught up. When you approve it, the audit is public record. The 2011 audit will go out Monday, and the 2012 by Dec. 31, so you'll be caught up."

Commissioners approved an inventory deletion of three buildings at the County Fairgrounds—the lamb and pig barn, the poultry and rabbit barn, and the restrooms—that were damaged in a last summer micro-burst. "Because it is a capital item, we will demolish them," Saari said. "We received between $60,000 and $65,000 in insurance, plus $5,000 from Miller's discretionary funding. We will use the money to design the new building and demolish the old."

Approved was a sole community provider supplemental payment to Gila Regional Medical Center for $1,170,048.

Cissy McAndrew, Southwest Green Chamber of Commerce director, gave an update on the Visitor Center. "We are continuing our Buy Local, Stay Local, Invest Local campaign. We had an excellent meeting with the Tourism Commission here last Friday. The cabinet secretary also heard from us. Our concern has been the Catwalk."

She said the Tamal y Más Fiesta last weekend was a great success, and she appreciated the Hispanic community taking it over.

The Green Chamber held an economic forum Wednesday evening, which she said was very well attended. She showed a public lands document, "West is Best," created by Headwaters Economics out of Montana. "Growth out West is greater than in the East. Public lands has a huge impact on people choosing to move west."

McAndrew said visitation to the area was flat, and she believes the fires contributed to the decrease in the number of visitors. "The Catwalk was closed; the Cliff Dwellings were closed. We learned we have to be proactive. We are the largest town near the fires, and, even though the media was on the ground, they datelined articles Silver City. Twelve of us were at a climate change conference in Tuscon, and we were introduced as the largest group and as being from where the fires were."

The group is improving its website and using Facebook and Twitter to get out the message about the area. "We are ready for the 2013 printing of the Visitor Guide. We are adjusting marketing and have a great collaboration with the Silver City Arts and Cultural district, Silver City MainStreet Project and the county Tourism Committee. We supported the brownfields grant application. The Red Paint Powwow is coming up."

Miller said she was proud of the Green Chamber's efforts. "I'm thrilled at your including the Hispanic community."

Commissioner Gabriel Ramos said he was glad the Green Chamber is supporting Glenwood. "We at the Southwest County Commission Alliance are, also. Another issue is public lands. I continue to push to keep the forest roads open. The Forest Service is slowly putting the Catwalk back together."

Commission Chairman Brett Kasten said he would like to see more done on the Catwalk.

Lonnie Sandoval, a resident of Loma Verde Road, said he just wanted to hear updates on improving the road.

Saari said Gutierrez had looked at the road, and determined that a surveyor was needed to make sure the landmarks were set correctly. "It has been subdivided since the first plat. We will also look at a turnaround on your property, where possible. Once the survey is in place, we will put together a designation and put it before the Commission. After the commissioners approve it, we will form an improvement district."

Gutierrez said he hoped to have it ready by the January meeting.

The rest of the meeting will be covered in a subsequent article.

Live from Silver City

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