Talon News - Good Local News

By jacque Ritchie
TALON 

$700,000 to Glade Recreation Area

at County Commission regular Meeting

 

January 26, 2018



The San Juan County Commission Regular Meeting was called to order January 23, at 4:00 p.m.. All Commissioners and SJC CEO Dr. Kim Carpenter were present. The Consent Agenda included eight items, all were duly voted on and unanimously approved.

Under new business, the first item under consideration for approval was a Grant Amendment with NMDOT to recieve Recreational Trails Programs Funds for the Glade Run Recreational Area (GRRA) Trail Improvement Project (F100240).

The $700,000 grant comes from federal transportation monies despersed by NMDOT. The GRRA is located off of Pinon Hills Boulevard north of Farmington. SJC Public Works Administrator Fran Fillerup presented the Grant Amendment and said in a telephone follow-up with the TALON, “we hope to start construction this year and finish in 2019.” Fillerup said working in concert with BLM, the grant will cover design and construction of trails for mountain bikes, dirt bikes and ATVs. The amendment passed unanimously.

Next up for discussion was a Notice to Amend some confusing language found in the SJC Employee Handbook. Commissioners chuckled and ribbed each other about tattoo removal/coverage then voted on, and approved publication of restated/amended rules. SJC employees can find amended language posted on the SJC website, click on the SJC Employee Handbook.

Thirdly, the commission considered the City of Farmington FY19 Animal Shelter Service Rates presented by Mike Stark. The discussion started with a break down of how many animals are sheltered annually in Farmington (2933 for FY17) and Aztec (1836 for FY17), and cost per ‘stay’. According to SJC Operations Officer Mike Stark, “a stay consists of 15 days,” but Stark said in a telephone follow-up with the TALON, “that does not mean they (animals) are necessarily euthanized...due to out-of-area adoption programs the rate of live-release is really quite high.” Farmington estimates the cost of a stay at $183.81. In Aztec the estimated cost is $123.86 per stay.

The commissioners discussion circled around to the Navajo Nation contributing to the cost of sheltering feral and stray pets from the reservation. According to Stark 40% of the animals in the SJC animal shelter system come from the Navajo Nation with 1,182 animals in FY17. According to Stark last year the SJC commission sent a letter to the Navajo Nation requesting relief that went unanswered. The commission agreed to continue to reach out to the Navajo Nation to try to bring them to the table to discuss payment for sheltering the animals in question. At the suggestion of Commissioner Jack Fourtner the body opted to send a bill to President Russell Begaye, “Just to see what would happen...” It was suggested the bill would total 40% of the $539,130 SJC was billed in FY17 for the Farmington shelter operational cost or approximately $216,000. In FY17 the city of Aztec billed SJC $227,406 for animal shelter operating cost.

Finally the commission discussed the request that all SJC employees who participate in the Medical Plan sign on to a Pay in Advance Premium Billing policy. “We just need to clean it up and make it more efficient,” said SJC Commission Chairman Margret McDaniel in a telephone follow-up with the TALON, “We have really great comprehensive medical coverage.” SJC kicks in about $90,000 a year to subsidize SJC employee medical coverage. The commission unanimously approved the request to change the medical billing requirement for SJC employees.

The floor was opened up for comments from the public; Resident Gary Skiba addressed the commission about concerns about road maintenance in the Pinon Trails neighborhood located aproximately 6 miles north/west of Aztec, according to Skiba, he and his neighbors were told by the developer, when they purchased their lots, that the county would maintain the roads in the community. Skiba understood from prior communication with SJC that the county was not responsible for road maintenance within the sub-division and that Skiba and his neighbors would have to seek relief in civil court. Skiba also complained about the presence of an extremely bright light. The light is located over a mile from the Pinon Trails neighborhood and is owned by a veterinarian who also breed horses. According to Skiba, the light is to help the mares stay in estress and produce more foals. The owner of the light turns it off at 11:00 p.m. in compliance with SJC code. Dr. Kim Carpenter addressed Skiba’s concerns saying that he (Carpenter) had personally gone to the area of the offending light, “It’s really bright it’s like Ricketts Park times ten.” Carpenter explained that since the owner was in compliance with the 11:00 p.m. ordinance there was no regulation violation, “We just don’t have any teeth on this issue.”

The meeting was adjourned around 4:50 p.m.

 

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