Talon News - Good Local News

By Roxanna Hughes



August 17, 2018

Aztec City Commission 8.14.18

by Roxanna Hughes, TALON

The August 14th City of Aztec Commission Meeting began with City Manager Steve Mueller recognizing Diane Lane and the Youth Conservation Corp (YCC) for their hard work this summer. Diane Lane is the last member of the Desert Planters Garden Club and assisted the YCC with the redesign of the rose garden by the city complex. The YCC kids also built the shade structures near the splash park. Unfortunately, neither Ms. Lane nor the YCC folks could make it to the commission meeting.

City Manager Mueller announced that the city recently hired three new department heads. Steve Morse is the new Public Works Director/City Engineer, Angela Watkins is now the Library Director and Jeff Blackburn is the Parks/General Services Director.

The commission voted to rescind the emergency ban on open fires and fireworks. The ban was implemented at the June 12, 2018 meeting and was established for 120 days from the date of approval, which would have kept the ban in effect until October 2018. Both Farmington and San Juan County have already lifted their bans.

The city attorney contract was awarded to the Risley Law Firm. Four proposals were received and evaluated from Adam H. Bell P.C., Ronal M. Brambl Jr, Jennifer L. Olsen and the Risley Law Firm. According to the Staff Summary Report, “The evaluation committee determined the Risley Law Firm has the resources and broad experience to best serve the City; however, there was concern on the cost proposal submitted. The Risley Law Firm was willing to negotiate the monthly retainer and hourly rate, which will be about 20 percent more than the previous city attorney. The new contract will become effective September 1, 2018, for a term of one (1) year and will be subject to renewal for three (3) additional one-year terms.” The City Manager, Department heads and one or two commissioners will meet with the Risley Firm to discuss who will be the primary designee to serve as the City Attorney for consistency and continuity. City Manager Mueller stated, “There would be the possibility to have a ‘fall back’ person by utilizing the other attorney in the firm if the designee had to take a leave of absence or some other situation and was not available.” Mayor Snover asked, “How often did the city go beyond the 40- hour monthly retainer hours?” Finance Director Kathy Lamb answered, “In evaluating a 49-month period, the city went over about 10 hours per month in at least 18 of the 49 months. Those times were possibly items that took more research time than others. Most of the time the previous city attorney logged 35 hours or less.” She added, “Eliminating the regular business hours at the city established for the attorney to be available to the city staff each week would help with decreasing the time overage. There were many times that the city attorney was in the office and was not needed.” Commissioner Randall asked, “How are the hours tracked?” The City Manager and Finance Director jointly answered, “There would be itemized billing with a listing of time and items handled but ultimately it would be a level of trust that would have to be built over time.”

An ordinance for the Intent to Adopt Municipal Gross Receipts Tax was presented to the commission. The Staff Summary Report states, “The current gross receipts tax rate within the municipal limits of Aztec is 8%. The 8% includes tax increments for the state, county and city. The last rate increase implemented by the City was .375% and established the Capital Projects Fund. Currently, the revenues generated by that increase are pledged to the debt incurred on the library and Tiger reservoir complex. The commission voted on a .25% increase which equals 25 cents on ever $100.00 and would go towards the General Fund. Final adoption will be done at a future commission meeting.

The commission approved a small brewer off-site liquor license for 550 Brewing Company, LLC., which will be located at 119 N Main Ave in Aztec. The business is within 300 feet of two churches, the Aztec Presbyterian Church and Aztec Methodist Church.


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