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From left, Byron Landfair, City of Artesia infrastructure director, Mayor Phil Burch and Cliff Waide, mayor of Hagerman, stand in front of a street sweeper donated to the Town of Hagerman by the City of Artesia. “Hagerman was in need of a street sweeper, and we happened to have an extra,” said Burch. “We have two options when it comes to excess inventory: auction it off or donate it to a friend-town of ours.” (Elizabeth Lewis - Daily Press)

From left, Byron Landfair, City of Artesia infrastructure director, Mayor Phil Burch and Cliff Waide, mayor of Hagerman, stand in front of a street sweeper donated to the Town of Hagerman by the City of Artesia. “Hagerman was in need of a street sweeper, and we happened to have an extra,” said Burch. “We have two options when it comes to excess inventory: auction it off or donate it to a friend-town of ours.” (Elizabeth Lewis – Daily Press)

Perhaps the most controversial item on the agenda at Tuesday’s Artesia City Council meeting was the reclassification of municipal court bailiff.

According to Sandi Farley, Human Resources director, having a sworn officer in the police department acting as municipal court bailiff would be the safest, albeit a more expensive, option. Farley said there are two-and-a-half months of salary savings from a clerical position that’s been vacant since July that could go toward the expense. Councilor Raul Rodriguez didn’t care for that idea.

“We’re robbing Peter to pay Paul,” Rodriguez said. “Why do we have to spend our savings as soon as we get it?”

Councilor Nora Sanchez discussed the safety measures that should be considered.

“Safety should be our priority,” said Sanchez. “It could be a matter between life and death.”

Police Chief Don Raley also commented on the safety issue.

“It’s long been my thought process we have a sworn officer in that position,” Raley said. “It would be money well spent versus the headlines associated if something were to go on in that courtroom.”

After a tense debate between council members, the council voted unanimously in favor of having a sworn officer acting as bailiff, and the motion carried.

In other business Tuesday, the issue of recent burglaries in Artesia was brought up.

“Burglary stats are a bit depressing,” Raley said. “However, since we began making internal adjustments, we’ve seen progress.”

The Artesia Police Department has been patrolling in unmarked vehicles around town since the beginning of the month and has apprehended four attempted burglars.

“We got them off the street,” Raley said. “And now we’re seeing a reduction in car thefts.”

Also on Tuesday, the council approved the donation of a street sweeper to the Town of Hagerman and a resolution to accept the former National Guard armory building and property.