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The Artesia City Council elected Tuesday to hold a special workshop next month to discuss the possibility of adding EMT positions at the Artesia Fire Department.

Mayor Raye Miller said the new positions were being considered in order to aid with ground transports from Artesia General Hospital to other locations.

“Right now, that’s primarily done through overtime, and it’s very difficult to get guys to commit all of their lives to being firefighters and ambulance drivers,” Miller said.

The mayor said AGH has indicated they would be willing to consider financial support should the city decide to add the positions, as the action would exponentially improve patient care.

As it stands, if personnel from Artesia are unavailable to drive a patient from Artesia to, for example, Lubbock, Texas, patients are left waiting four hours for a Lubbock crew to arrive, plus the four-hour return trip.

Councilors Kent Bratcher and Bill Rogers said both the Police and Fire, and Budget and Finance committees are in support of the workshop, which was slated for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, in Council Chambers.

The council also reviewed an amendment to the Declaration of Use Restrictions for the Artesia Aquatic Center between Yates Farms and the Artesia Aquatic Center Foundation (AACF) and approved an amendment to the Operation Memorandum of Understanding between the city and the AACF.

Community Development director Jim McGuire said the reviewed action pertained simply to changes made in some of the wording in the Declaration of Use Restrictions, while the approved amendment was a result of changes that have occurred since the original MOU was approved.

“The school board has sped up their process and their participation,” McGuire said. “Originally, the MOU said the city would be putting in infrastructure, and now we’re not – the Foundation is. And instead of the city donating their share of the money to the first phase, we’re now partnering up with the school district and donating our share to the second phase.”

The council additionally approved the city’s Fiscal Year 2020-24 Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan, which includes as its priorities: replacement of ambulances; the upcoming Hermosa Drive Reconstruction Project; obtaining additional water rights; installing lighting at Guadalupe Park; and installing lighting along Eagle Draw.

In other business, the council approved a resolution approving in-house end-of-year budget adjustments, end-of-year budget adjustments for Department of Finance and Administration submission, fourth-quarter quarterly budget adjustments, and the publication of liens. That final action also included the setting of a date for a lien appeals hearing, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11, in Council Chambers.

Infrastructure director Byron Landfair informed the council the engineers associated with the Hermosa Drive project have been actively speaking with and working to address the concerns of residents in the affected area from 13th Street to 26th Street.

Landfair also said construction on a water surface tank and booster pumps at Jaycee Park that would augment water pressure in that portion of the city will likely begin sometime in October or November.

Artesia Police Department Cmdr. Lindell Smith, standing in the stead of Chief Kirk Roberts, told the council the APD continues to work diligently on combatting one of the community’s biggest crime problems – auto burglaries – after it was noted by Councilor Jeff Youtsey that numbers were down in that category in the most recent department statistics.

Fire Chief Kevin Hope also noted the AFD was sending an engine and two crews to Roswell today to cover that city’s calls while Roswell Fire Department crews attend the funeral of a longtime battalion chief. Communities such as Carlsbad and Hobbs were also contributing manpower.

As part of its consent agenda, the council granted permission for:

• consideration and approval of an amended Joint Powers Agreement between the City of Artesia and the Artesia Public Schools for construction of Phase II of the Artesia Aquatic Center.

• the reappointment of Terah Maupin Sexton, David Grousnick and Julie Gibson to the Library Board of Trustees (terms to expire June 2021), and the appointment of Danny Parker to the Library Board of Trustees (term to expire June 2021).

• the resignation of Viveca Herrera, museum custodian, effective Aug. 9.

• the advertisement and filling of the positions of museum custodian, Equipment Operator 2 in the Solid Waste Department, and Apprentice Mechanic I.

• a public hearing Aug. 28 for consideration and approval of an ordinance for the Bush and Bowman Public Right-of-Way Dedication Plat, dedication of right-of-way to the public being 50 feet wide and approximately 1,326 feet in length, and Bush Avenue being 50 feet wide and approximately 844 feet in length. Owner of the plat is Yates Farms, LLC, and the agent is Harcrow Surveying, LLC.

• a public hearing Aug. 28 for consideration and approval of an ordinance for Kennemur Land Division – Final Plat – County, located within the three-mile platting jurisdiction of the City of Artesia. The division will be of Tract 1 of the Menefee Land Division No. 2 into Lots 1-3, being 1.258, 1.876 and 1.90 acres in size, located in the 900 block of West Thoroughbred Road. Owners are Ray and Kaylee Kennemur; agent is Harcrow Surveying, LLC.

• a public hearing Sept. 11 to adopt an ordinance adopting changes to the Uniform Traffic Ordinance.

• a public hearing Sept. 11 to adopt an ordinance amending the Penalty Assessments within the UTO.

• a public hearing Sept. 11 to adopt an ordinance approving a Public Participation Agreement (PPA) with The Jahva House.

• one finance and administration employee to attend Artesia Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee Funding Training in Santa Fe.

• one finance and administration employee to attend the New Mexico Municipal League Annual Conference in Roswell.

• one police employee to attend Read-Recognize-Respond training in Albuquerque.

• one fire employee to attend the 20th Annual New Mexico Fire Service Conference in Ruidoso.

• two wastewater employees to attend the NMWWA Southeast Section Workshop in Roswell.

• one wastewater employee to attend the NMWWA Central School in Albuquerque.

• one water employee to attend Math Review and Exam Prep in Albuquerque.

• one water employee to attend the NMWWA Section Workshop in Espanola.

• two police employees to attend the 2018 NMPET Conference in Albuquerque.

• two police employees to attend the School of Police Staff and Command in Rio Rancho.

• legislative employees to attend the 2018 MOLI Governance Program in Santa Fe.

• the approval of a resolution to enter into a Grant Agreement for water chlorination with the State of New Mexico Environment Department.