News @ Noon

News @ Noon / 11 January 2013

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Welcome to News @ Noon for Friday 11 January 2013 brought to you by Gila / Mimbres Community Radio in a community media collaboration with The Grant County Beat – your daily newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County.

News @ Noon airs daily at noon and is rebroadcast at 6pm.
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SWNM EDP discussed what is needed for recruitment of and supporting businesses
Created on Thursday, 10 January 2013 18:12

The Southwest New Mexico Economic Development Partnership met in Silver City Wednesday, Jan. 9. The group, which is comprised of representatives from Catron, Grant, Hidalgo, and Luna counties grew out of the Stronger Economies Together program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development paid for the SET training taught by Michael Patrick of New Mexico State University.

Linda Smrkovsky, Deming-Luna County Economic Development executive director, serves as chairwoman of the group. She pointed out that the group needs “more inviting meetings to bring in other people.  We were supposed to have Kristine Shoberg of Udder Delight in Glenwood to speak to us this month, but she was ill. We have her slated for next month.”

Jerry Welch of the Southwest New Mexico Regional Housing Authority and Development, which is overseeing the grant received to set up a revolving loan fund, said SET members would direct the loan fund as the Loan Committee.

“We can loan out to small entrepreneurs,” Welch said.

Patrick asked if the group would be saying: “yes to this loan, no to that one and would be responsible for collecting delinquent loans?”

When Welch replied: “Yes,” Patrick said: “Good luck.”

Smrkovsky said Loan Committee members would consist of bankers and accountants who would be qualified to manage such loans, but the Housing Authority would cut the checks.

She also noted the revolving loan fund would be available to residents of the four counties. “We will work with entities to help them qualify. Most will be low to moderate income, who are starting or growing a business, but are using their credit card, because they can’t get a bank loan.”

The next meeting of the Partnership/SET will take place at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the Deming Conference Center, 119 E. Pine Street, Deming.


County Commissioners at work session review regular agenda
Created on Tuesday, 08 January 2013 20:30

The Grant County Commission at its first work session of the year welcomed a new commissioner—Ron Hall, representing District 3—and a new treasurer—Steve Armendariz.

The regular meeting will be at 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 10, at the Grant County Administration Center.  The first item of business will be to elect a chairman.

The expenditure report will show that up to Jan. 7, the county  spent $4,048,544.84 for the month of December.  Saari explained that approximately $1.2 million is an indigent fund payment and another approximately $1.2 million is for construction on the County Business and Conference Center.  The rest – approximately 1.65 million – was for a month’s worth of payroll and “normal expenditures,” he said.

Commissioners will consider the volunteer fire department election results. Saari said the members of one department came forward with concerns about the election process and the individuals chosen as officers. “I will discuss the issue with (County Attorney) Abby (Robinson),” he said.

Other issues discussed included…

As a consent agenda item, the County Commission will approve or disapprove the Emergency Medical Services annual service report and application for the Gila Regional Medical Center EMS, Gila Valley EMS, Mimbres Valley EMS, Pinos Altos Volunteer Fire and Rescue and Tyrone VFR.

An addition of Policy 55 to the Grant County Sheriff’s Department Standard Operating Procedures would set rules and guidelines for use of the computers that have been installed in patrol cars, so the officers can stay out in the county and do their reports. “It’s a brand new policy,” Saari said.

He listed the committees that commissioners and county officials would serve on for the coming year.

Commissioner Gabriel Ramos said the list should include a statement that those who are appointed to boards and committees vote on behalf of the Commission. Saari said the list would be moved to resolutions and would include the statement for Thursday’s meeting.

Ramos also noted that there is confusion about the Transit Authority now that Grant County has taken it over. “We’ve suggested that we need to consider all transportation.”

Ramos said the marketing on the buses needs also to be addressed, because the signs look tacky after years of weather.

Saari suggested a vinyl wrap, so the whole bus is a moving billboard, but when he said the closest one to do that was Las Cruces, Kasten said he would prefer that it be put out to bid and be done by a local business.

An intergovernmental transfer of a 1995 Ford Bronco from the Road Department to Western New Mexico University will be considered.  Saari explained the university received a grant to study the effects of the Whitewater-Baldy Fire, but did not have a four-wheel-drive vehicle for researchers to be able to access the fire areas.

The Open Meetings Resolution for 2013 will also be considered at the Thursday meeting.

Saari said the county would try to hold firm on the previous Wednesday as the deadline for items to be put on the next week’s agenda, “so we can get the packet to you as a .pdf on Friday, giving you time to look over all items.” The OMA resolution will include that the commissioners will receive items in electronic form by the February meeting. “We want to have individual monitors for you and a big screen for the audience through an Apple TV. We want to make sure there are no additions at the last minute, although we can remove things up to the meeting time.”

The commissioners, as the Grant County Indigent and Health Care Claims Board, will consider 538 claims for $411,507.46.

Hall said he would like to have someone present at the meeting to explain to citizens where the money comes from to pay the indigent claims.  Saari said he would ask Beth Allred, who oversees the fund, if she can present at Thursday’s meeting.

The regular meeting will take place at 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 10, at the Grant County Administration Center.

Please visit http://www.grantcountybeat.com/ for additional details.  A second article will cover county reports.


County Commission Work Session 2 – Audits up to date
Created on Wednesday, 09 January 2013 20:50

Following a review of the Thursday regular meeting agenda, Grant County officials gave reports at the first work session of the year.

Commission Chairman Brett Kasten welcomed the new commissioner for District 3, Ron Hall, and thanked former District 3 Commissioner Christy Miller for being a good steward for the county.

“I also am happy to announce the audit is at the state Auditor’s Office and we are compliant,” Kasten said. “We are not on the watch list anymore.”

County Planner Anthony Gutierrez said he would submit projects for Colonias Infrastructure Fund money. “We will ask for funding for North Hurley curb and gutters to alleviate flooding in the area.”

Gutierrez is a member of the Input Committee for the Interstate Stream Commission, which is reviewing proposals to utilize up to 14,000 average annual acre-feet of additional water out of the Gila Basin and $66 million up to $128 million for a New Mexico Unit, as allocated to the four-county region of Grant, Luna, Hidalgo and Catron counties by the 2004 Arizona Water Settlements Act. The Input Committee will meet Monday and hear reports on economic impact and economic feasibility from the Bureau of Reclamation.  “What we hear will affect Grant County’s final scopes of work for water reuse. I am also chairman of a committee for the next plan on endangered species.”

Sheriff Raul Villanueva said his department was fairly busy over the holiday period. He gave statistics comparing 2011 to 2012. “We have had increases in calls, and we’re working a lot of burglaries everywhere.  We recovered stolen firearms yesterday (Monday) because of observant citizens. We are asking people to be observant.”

Hall asked if many areas had Neighborhood Watch programs.

“Yes, we have a Neighborhood Watch in the area where the most recent burglary occurred,” Villanueva said. “It’s very beneficial. I encourage you to contact us to help you set it up.”

County Manager Jon Saari said many of the county officials would be attending New Mexico Association of Counties meetings next week prior to the start of the legislative session. “The first four weeks of the session, we will be in Santa Fe.  We had a meeting with Freeport McMoRan, Western New Mexico University and Silver City. We will have conference calls as a joint effort, looking at what’s going on, so we know if we need to go up for a hearing to have someone who can talk on behalf of any of us.”

Ramos asked if the county had a lobbyist.

“We can’t afford one just to work for us, and it’s hard to split one,”
Saari said. “That’s why we’re working with Silver City, the university and Freeport.”

Kasten said normally when one is looking at lobbyists they are usually working for an industry and they don’t know anything about county issues. “Or if they are working with other counties, there may be conflicts.”

Ramos also welcomed Hall and Armendariz. Ramos asked if the county could have the Forest Service present on the Travel Management Plan again. “I understand there have been some changes, and the decision is supposed to be made in March. I’ve been bombarded with questions from constituents. It happened in Santa Fe that most roads in the forest were closed. The public needs to be heard from. The majority of those I’ve talked to want to keep our roads.”

Hall thanked voters for the vote of confidence for him. “…It’s important to me to be in contact with citizens, so I will be available after every second work session of the month in my office here until 4 p.m. Please set up an appointment with (executive assistant) Randy Hernandez at 574-0006.”

The meeting was adjourned, with the next work session set for Tuesday, Feb. 19, and the regular meeting on Thursday, Feb. 21, both at 9 a.m. at the Grant County Administration Center.

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News @ Noon

News @ Noon / 9 January 2013

Welcome to News @ Noon for Wednesday 9 January 2013 brought to you by Gila / Mimbres Community Radio in a community media collaboration with The Grant County Beat – your daily newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. News @ Noon airs daily at noon and is rebroadcast at 6pm. Or you can click below to listen anytime to this installment of News @ Noon Click the titles of the individual stories further down the page to read the […]

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