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COMMISSION GETS DROUGHT AND FIRE UPDATE

 

Housing Authority Award - left to right: Jim Crowley, Margaret McDaniel, Faye Anderson, Jack Fortner, Wallace Charley -PHOTO-D.Albright-TALON

The June 7, 2018 San Juan County Commission Meeting began with the County Clerk, Tanya Shelby, reporting on the primary election. According to Shelby, there were 4,442 early voters, 737 absentee ballots, 9,215 election day for a total of 14,394 votes cast. This was an increase of 3,432 voters over the 2014 Primary Election.

The first presentation was a 'Certification of Excellence to San Juan County Housing Authority'. CEO Kim Carpenter said, "Amazing, this is the 15th consecutive year the Housing Authority has received this award."

A 'Significant Achievement Award' from the Point of View Committee was presented to County employees, Louie Montoya and Wayne Merrell. "Every now and then we have folks from our county family going above and beyond the call of duty...to do something for the good of another," Carpenter said. Montoya and Merrell took "quick action" to extinguish a truck fire at the intersection of Highway 516 and Oliver Drive, preventing a "potential fireball" and further damage to the vehicle.

Next Lisa Gomez presented new data for 'Health Care Assistance Claims'. The figures were approved by the Commission.

'New Business' began with 'the hot topic'; 'Review of Drought Status and Fireworks Proclamation' by SJC Fire Chief, Craig Daugherty. "We're lining up for some serious fire behavior...and to say we're greatly concerned...is an understatement". Acting Farmington Fire Chief David Burke said, "We've gotten lucky within the last couple of weeks to have contained some fires that could have become larger incidents". On June 12 SJCFD will ask the city of Farmington to declare a resolution to urge people to use "utmost safety and only use fireworks on barren land and have a water source available...it's an extraordinary year with extraordinary circumstances that have us on edge".

Daugherty presented Commissioners with the 'Seasonal Drought Outlook', updated May 17 and said, "The scary thing on it to me---it's not showing any relief all the way through August" Regarding fireworks, Daughtery revealed, "I do regret that we may not have gone far enough on the fireworks ban, or restrictions...we can't ban them due to state law...any ignition source is going to cause issues." Daughtery reported the 'Arenas Fire' grew to 127 acres before being contained by Los Pinos FD with air tanker and helicopter support.

Next on the agenda, 'Consideration of Approval of Wholesale Liquor License for Enchanted LLC' was presented by Deputy County Attorney Doug Echols. An Echols representative stated Enchanted LLC had been working on the effort since 2006. The wholesale business will be located on Highway 64, between Farmington and Kirtland and will primarily serve the casinos on the reservation.

Jennifer Mitchell presented, 'Consideration of DWI Grant Agreement with Department of Finance and Administration/Local Government for Operation of the Local DWI Program. Mitchell shared specific data regarding funding from various sources, including the Grant Council. The grant agreement was approved.

Commission Awards Wayne Merrell, Louie Montoya. Left to right: Jim Crowley, Margaret McDaniel, Wayne Merrell, Louie Montoya, Jack Fortner, Wallace Charley -PHOTO-D.Albright-talon

Item 4, 'Establishing Salaries of Newly-Elected County Officers' was presented by Echols. Echols contended the legislature tends to do these every four years, based on election cycles. Effective January 1, 2019, the changes would impact two commission seats, the Sheriff, Probate Judge and County Clerk. Commissioner McDaniels said, "I'm not really comfortable with this...and I really prefer to have the whole Commission (Commissioner Beckstead was absent)---we're only giving our employees a two, a three percent raise". McDaniels asked Echols about setting a cap on the raises. Echols responded, "As long as it's the same proportional cap...but remember if you do this---these people won't be able to receive a salary increase for another four years". The motion was tabled until a full commission was present.

The last agenda item dealt with 'New Mexico Department of Transportation Use of County Right-Of-Way along US Highway 64'. Fran Fillerup, Public Works Director presented the memorandum, which affects the next two phases of road widening and improvements of the highway near McGee Park to Farmington. Approval followed.

Finally Commissioner Crowley, addressed the Mental Health Task Force saying "We don't even have a skeleton yet...I just don't want us to drop that ball." The commission agreed to future discussion.

There was no 'Comments/Input from the General Public'. A 'Closed Executive Session' followed meeting adjournment.

 

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