Talon News - Good Local News



January 18, 2019

By David Edward Albright, TALON

At the first San Juan County Commission Meeting of 2019, Jack Fortner was elected by fellow commissioners as the Chairman---for the sixth time. Also on January 3, Jim Crowley was elected as Chairman Pro Tem. " I am excited to take on the role of Chairman of the County Commission," Fortner said in an email exchange about his return to the leadership position.

One of Fortner's first duties was to present Chevel Shepherd Week, January 6-12, 2019. Safety and Compliance Manager, Steward Logan, presented the County Emergency Response Team plaque to the County Commission on behalf of the 'First County Employee Certification Class to Graduate'. For the 'Board of Finance' report, Deputy Treasurer Carol Taulbee, presented the 'Resolution for Authorizing Monies in the Local Short Term Investment Fund'.

'New Business' included: New Mexico Economic Development Department Grant for Plant Expansion to PESCO, presented by Deputy County Attorney Joe Sawyer. He also offered item #2, 'Ordinance to Allow the Transfer of Harper Valley Subdivision Wastewater Collection System to Valley Water and Sanitation District'.

In his new role as County Manager, Mike Stark discussed the '2019 State and Federal Legislative Requests'. Stark shared with TALON the highlights, "The approval of four legislative capital outlay requests approved by our Commission in the following order: 1. San Juan County Film Studio- $1,000,000 2. East Culpepper Flats Regional Water Project-$2,000,00 3. Kirtland Walk Path (Phase 2)- $500,000 4. Bike Path from Farmington to Aztec-$500,000."

Jim Cox, newly-appointed Chief Financial and Strategy Officer, presented 'Consideration for Approval of Audit Services Proposal for Emergency Medical Services'. County Attorney Doug Echols offered the 'Consideration of Open Meetings Resolution'. Stark presented a 'Resolution Canceling and Rescheduling Certain Meetings in Calendar Year 2019'. And Larry Hathaway, General Services Administrator, offered 'Consideration for Award of Bid for Human Resources Administration Addition'. All items were approved.

Stark told TALON about his first County Manager Report, "I reported two pieces of good news involving awards achieved by both our Finance Department and Compliance Program from the NM Counties Association. Our Finance Department won the FY 17 Audit and Accountability Award for large Counties. Our Compliance Program achieved reaccreditation with NM Counties."

Chairman Fortner said the duties of chairman are not significantly greater than as commissioner, but the "Chairman generally needs to be at more meetings...like with Legislators or the City of Farmington. He sees the greatest challenges facing the County and the Commission as being, "The closing of PNM and then the Coal mine weigh heavy on my mind.  We are working closely with our Legislators, trying to make this loss of jobs as 'painless' as possible, if that is possible.  We are hoping to negotiate either legislation or an agreement where PNM is required to build a 400 Megawatt natural gas fired plant, and also create a fund for San Juan County and Farmington, Aztec, Kirtland and Bloomfield and/or citizens to be able to access for economic development."

Fortner's message to San Juan County's citizens is, "San Juan County is STILL a great place to live and raise a family, and the San Juan County Commission will do all they can to continue to make San Juan County safe, and prosperous."


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