Published: 1:00 pm, Wed. Jul. 13th, 2016Updated: 2:29 pm
The Artesia City Council convened to vote on multiple zone-change ordinances Tuesday at City Hall.
The first was in reference to the zone change of 202 S. 19th St. from an R1-B Single Family District to a C Business District. During the June 14 city council meeting, 19th Street residents came with a petition in tow protesting the zone change. The issue was tabled for a month so Robert Duncan, the owner of the property, would have a chance to meet with the residents and address their concerns.
When the zone change was brought up again Tuesday night, none of the residents spoke during the public hearing portion of the discussion; therefore, the ordinance was passed with only Councilor Jose Luis Aguilar voting “no.”
The councilors also voted on the annexation and designation of zoning districts for the Northpark Annexation, including sections of the public right-of-way of 13th Street, Compress Road, and U.S. 285. Karen Perez of Grace Engineering came before the council to discuss the reasons for the annexation, including the issue where a failed sewage line has turned into a cesspit.
“We have been working on funding with the Collins family for almost 12 years. They’ve been working for awhile to clean up the sewer system,” said Perez. “They’ve made some improvement over time, but now we’re ready to connect to the city. It’s the safest way and obviously the best service.”
Police Chief Don Raley and Fire Chief J.D. Hummingbird were asked to voice their concerns on the issue.
“There’s no doubt in my mind this is going to increase our calls for service by a noticeable bump,” said Raley. “The other concern I have is that section of 285. We’re going to be responsible for accident investigation in that section.
“We’re going to have to step up our game; we’re going to have to train some folks, because we don’t have high-speed streets or high-speed collisions in the city. That’s an area where you’re going to have some pretty significant accidents. My biggest concern is our limited resources.”
When it came time to vote, Councilors Aguilar and Manuel Madrid Jr. voted “no” with the remaining councilors voting “yes.” The ordinance passed 6-2.
Additionally, an ordinance approving the PPA between the City of Artesia and OK Express Lube was passed 8-0 with relatively little discussion.
One of the public hearings discussing an ordinance for 315 S. 39th St. to be changed to a C Business District from an SA-2 Suburban Acreage District was tabled to be discussed at the next city council meeting.
After the three public hearings, Michael Bunt, economic development director, approached the councilors with a request to use $110,000 from the Economic Development Fund over a three-year period to hire Retail Strategies, a consulting firm that develops and implements long-term economic growth opportunities.
The councilors ultimately voted to approve this fund usage.
Upon recommendation of Mayor Phil Burch, and subject to successful completion of required pre-employment testing, the councilors voted to promote Ada Yandell to Garage Mechanic I at a rate of pay of $3,114 per month, Richard Acosta to Parks Foreman at a rate of pay of $3,274 per month, and Terri Woods to Ambulance Billing Clerk I for the fire department at a rate of pay of $2,305 per month.
The councilors also voted to fill the positions these promotions left open. The city will soon post openings for a park equipment operator, a water cashier, and an apprentice mechanic.
In other business Tuesday, the councilors voted to approve the consent agenda as written, which included:
• approval of a lease with Coastal Transport for Lots 3 and 4 of Block 5, Artesia Industrial Park, Phase II.
• approval of appointment of Jess Holmes to the Library Board of Trustees, term to expire June 2019.
• approval of appointment of Jessica Arenivas to the Library Board of Trustees, term to expire June 2019.
• approval to set a public hearing for Aug. 9 for consideration of an ordinance adopting the International Fire Code, 2015 edition, including appendices B, C and D.
• permission for four fire employees to attend Instructor II training in Socorro.
• permission for executive employees to attend the Tax Reform Committee and NMML Resolutions Committee meeting in Albuquerque.
• permission for one police employee to instruct ethics training at the Hobbs Academy.
• permission for one fire employee to attend the E0610 Introduction to Instructional Design Methods in Emmitsburg, Md.
• permission for two water employees to attend the NMWWA training and testing in Albuquerque.
• permission for executive employees to attend the NMML/NMSIF Mandatory Mayor/Manager Annual Safety training in Ruidoso.
• permission for one HR employee to attend the NMML/NMSIF Mandatory Mayor/Manager Annual Safety training in Ruidoso.
• permission for two police employees to attend Sex Crimes – The Offender training in Hobbs.
• permission for one police employee to attend NM Gang conference training in Rio Rancho.
• approval of a request by Amy Mathis on behalf of Artesia High School to hold the annual Homecoming parade from 3:30-5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, requesting street closures and waiver of fees.