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The Artesia City Council held a special meeting this evening via teleconference at which a decision on the disconnection of delinquent utility accounts was made.

The council adopted a Declaration of Emergency Resolution as its only item of business, the bulk of which, Mayor Raye Miller said, was designed to allow Artesia to become eligible for any and all federal and state funding that may become available as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The county commission has adopted a resolution almost identical to this this morning in a special meeting,” Miller said. “I think the City of Carlsbad was doing one at 4 o’clock, and ours is pretty much uniform with everybody else’s except for this Item No. 4.”

The item to which Miller refers, which was added to the council’s resolution, authorizes the suspension of disconnections of delinquent utility accounts for 60 days from the date of the resolution’s adoption: Tuesday, March 31.

Councilor Jeff Youtsey asked if the emergency declaration provided the mayor with any additional powers to resolve issues in the city that may surface suddenly, and Miller clarified that it did not. The council will still be called upon to ratify any actions taken in the interim.

“It primarily just makes us available for any help that is directed out of Washington and the state that is targeted towards disaster relief,” Miller said.

Councilor Kent Bratcher made the motion to pass the emergency declaration, with Mayor Pro Tem Luis Florez seconding. The resolution passed 8-0.