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Council approves firework restriction resolution

 

The City of Artesia announced a start date for the 20th Street Reconstruction Project and approved the annual firework restrictions during Tuesday’s meeting of the Artesia City Council.

Infrastructure Director Byron Landfair informed the council that Phase One of the four-phase 20th Street Reconstruction Project will begin Monday, June 6. The project was initially scheduled to begin in March but was delayed due to the unavailability of materials.

Phase One will close 20th Street to all traffic from just north of the Grand Avenue intersection south to the middle of the Sunwest Villa townhomes access road. Landfair said the projected duration of the phase is 12 months.

Three more phases will follow its completion:

• Phase Two: From the middle of the Sunwest Villa access road south to the middle of the Village West Apartments parking lot entrance. This portion of 20th Street will be closed to all traffic.

• Phase Three: From the middle of the Village West Apartments parking lot entrance south to just north of Hermosa Drive. This portion of 20th Street will be closed to all traffic.

• Phase Four: From just north of Grand Avenue north to Main Street. This portion of 20th Street will be closed to through traffic.

The Daily Press will publish additional information on the project in the June 2 edition.

In other business Tuesday, Fire Chief Kevin Hope brought forth a resolution for the restriction of certain fireworks ahead of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.

Hope noted the resolution remains the same as it’s been since the mid-2000s and calls for the sale or use of the following types of fireworks to be prohibited within city limits:

• missile-type rockets
• helicopters
• aerial spinners
• stick-type rockets
• ground audible devices

The resolution was unanimously approved. It is good for 30 days and will therefore need to be revisited at the council’s June 14 meeting.

Also approved Tuesday were:

• a request from the Personnel Department to amend the Position Classification Plan to change certain job titles for streamlining purposes.

• a request from the Personnel Department for approval to begin a 3-percent salary increase for all departments excepting police and fire on June 1. An increase for police and fire salaries was previously approved by the council and will also begin June 1.

• a request from Artesia MainStreet for the use of Main Street from First Street to Seventh Street, beginning at 4:30 p.m. June 16, July 14 and Aug. 18, for a Hot Summer Nights Third
Thursdays event.

Police Chief Kirk Roberts spoke to the council regarding his attendance at the National
Peace Officers’ Memorial Service during National Police Week last week in Washington, D.C.

Roberts attended with the family of Artesia Police Department Cpl. Thomas Frazier, whose name was added to the memorial wall following his death in the line of duty in 2021.

“The ceremonies were genuine and appropriate, so it was a good experience, and it was good for the family,” Roberts said.

The chief additionally noted that a ceremony will be held June 10 in the lobby of the Public Safety Complex, where a memorial will be unveiled during a visit from motorcyclists participating in the nationwide Ride to Remember.

During the period for hearing visitors, the council heard from local resident Luis Mendoza,
who spoke on behalf of the Artesia Pickleball Club. Mendoza is requesting that a portion of the tennis courts at Jaycee Park be professionally converted into a set of five pickleball courts.

It was noted that Landfair has already been in discussions with the group and that talks will continue with the Infrastructure Department and Recreation Commission.

In final business, Mayor Jon Henry asked the council for its input on eliminating the requirement that permission to post a city job opening be granted during a council meeting and that openings instead be immediately posted as they become available.

“I had a pretty good ‘yes’ from department heads that this would be helpful,” Henry said. “We just can’t afford to waste time anymore. We’ve got to get some folks hired.”

There were no objections to the change.

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

• an engagement letter with Modrall Sperling for representation in dealings with the New Mexico Environment Department.

• the resignation of Alexandra Florez, utility billing cashier, effective May 20.

• the resignation of Cynthia Martinez, assistant city clerk/records supervisor, effective May 27.

• the setting of a public hearing for June 14 to repeal Ordinance 1095: Artesia Stone Lease.

• one planning employee to participate in online Flood Plain Certification CUEs training.

• one police employee to attend fallen officer memorial training and rehearsal.

• one solid waste employee to attend the NMRC annual meeting and training in Albuquerque.

• the approval of Resolution 1789 authorizing the adoption of FLSA standards and reporting of hours of work to PERA for sworn police personnel.