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The Artesia City Council approved its Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan (ICIP) priorities for Fiscal Years 2024-28 during its regularly scheduled meeting last week.

ICIP priorities are submitted annually to the state legislature for consideration of capital outlay funding. Community Development Director Jim McGuire went over Artesia’s list for the council one final time Tuesday, with projects in order of priority and their stated costs including:

1. New City Hall — $11,000,000
2. Infrastructure Program: 26th Street from Hermosa to Main — $6,000,000
3. East Hermosa Drive from 13th Street to First Street — $5,000,000
4. Southeast Artesia ADA Ramps — $750,000
5. New Recreation/Community Center — $15,980,000
6. JJ Clarke Drive, Phase I (First Street to 10th Street) — $1,000,000
7. 10 Police Patrol Vehicles — $850,000
8. Mahone Drive, Phase I (First Street to 10th Street) — $1,000,000
9. Rescue Engine — $800,000
10. Jaycee Park Restrooms and Concessions — $500,000
11. Bulldog Water Well — $1,500,000

Details on the above 11 projects include:

• New City Hall
To construct and provide furnishings and equipment for a new City Hall building. The building has already been designed, with the design feeds paid through budgeted funds. The building will be two-story, approximately 18,700 square feet in size, and contain multiple offices for various city departments, the mayor’s office, conference rooms, and City Council Chambers. The Request for Proposal (RFP) for design was already awarded. Construction bids will be advertised. Office and council furniture will be purchased through GSA. Computer and video equipment will be purchased through local government.

• Infrastructure Program: 26th Street from Hermosa to Main
Plan, design, remove, replace and construct 26th Street improvements from Hermosa Drive north to Main Street, including curbs, gutters, sidewalks, ADA ramps, street surface, storm drains, bridge repair and improvements, and any necessary water and wastewater lines.

• East Hermosa Drive from 13th Street to First Street
Plan, design, remove, replace and construct Hermosa Drive improvements from 13th Street to First Street, including curbs, gutters, ADA ramps, street surface, water lines and wastewater lines.

• Southeast Artesia ADA Ramps
Plan, design and construct ADA ramps in the southeast quarter of the city.

• New Recreation/Community Center
To plan, design, construct and provide furnishings and equipment for a new recreation/community center building. The building will be constructed on a city-owned park (Roberts Park) and be approximately $48,500 square feet in size. It will contain three multi-use sports courts, a multi-purpose room, a group fitness room, a weight room, a kitchen/concession area, staff offices, classrooms, and other support spaces (restrooms, storage rooms, etc.). Parking spaces and outdoor play/sport court areas will be included.

• JJ Clarke Drive, Phase I (First Street to 10th Street)
Plan, design, remove, replace and construct JJ Clarke Drive improvements from First Street to 10th Street, including street surface and water lines.

• 10 Police Patrol Vehicles
Purchase and equip 10 police patrol vehicles. This will replace 10 existing police patrol vehicles.

• Mahone Drive, Phase I (First Street to 10th Street)
Plan, design, remove, replace and construct Mahone Drive improvements from First Street to 10th Street, including street surface and water lines.

• Rescue Engine
Purchase and equip a rescue engine for the Artesia Fire Department. This will replace an existing rescue engine.

• Jaycee Park Restrooms and Concessions
To construct and equip restrooms and concession facilities for the Jaycee Park soccer/football complex and walking track.

• Bulldog Water Well
Plan, design and construct a water well on the west side of the city, including securing all environmental permits and clearances. The size of the well will be 16 inches with an 8-inch turbine pump. The depth will be 200-400 feet.

In other business Tuesday, Police Chief Kirk Roberts spoke to the council regarding the possibility of increasing fees at the Artesia Animal Shelter.

Roberts said the shelter’s rates have not been updated since 1988. A 3-percent increase has been proposed to cover the cost of allowing payment by credit card, a new service the facility will soon implement. But Roberts advised the council that further increasing rates — possibly up to 20% — is also on the table, should the city deem the time has come.

“We seem to be getting by every year, but our costs there are certainly growing,” said the chief. “We’re getting more and more animals. It may be the prudent thing to do.”

The council directed Roberts to move forward with preparations for a fee increase.

Infrastructure Director Byron Landfair gave a brief update on Phase I of the 20th Street Reconstruction Project, stating that sewer lines have been installed, services are being tied in, and concrete and water work should be taking place this week.

“Once they get the water in, the curb and gutter, the job will appear to go pretty quick at that point, because usually, once you get the gutter, it goes pretty fast,” Landfair said.

In final business, City Clerk Summer Valverde sought and received approval for a resolution adopting the 2022-23 final budget and the Fourth Quarter quarterly report for 2021-22; a resolution designating additional signatory agents — the deputy city clerk and mayor pro tem — for the City of Artesia; and a resolution authorizing the city to pick up 75% of Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico (PERA) employee coverage.

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

• approval of an agreement with the Southeastern New Mexico Economic Development District Council of Governments. The City of Artesia owes $3,450 in dues for 2022-23.

• approval of a grant agreement between the City of Artesia and the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) that provides a $50,000 appropriation for public safety communications, coordinated through the Regional Emergency Dispatch Authority (REDA) in Artesia.

• the hiring of Silvio Quintana as an uncertified firefighter at a pay rate of $4,265 per month; Jude Ruiz as an uncertified firefighter at a pay rate of $4,265 per month; and Anna Iglesias as an Administrative Assistant I in the Infrastructure Department at a pay rate of $2,700 per month.

• from the council’s July 12 meeting, hirings included Christopher A. Rider as a police corporal at a pay rate of $5,321 per month; Thomas Griffin as an equipment operator in the Streets Department at a pay rate of $2,507 per month; and Blake Ledbetter as a technician in the Water Department at a pay rate of $2,507 per month.

• from the council’s June 28 meeting, hirings included Arturo Galvan and Gavino Saiz as assistants in the Wastewater Department at pay rates of $2,507 per month; Garrett Romain as a police cadet at a pay rate of $3,875 per month; and Joshua Bechtel as an IT technician at a pay rate of $3,131 per month.

• the resignations of David Sams, airport attendant, effective July 14; Arthur Gonzales, Infrastructure Department equipment operator, effective July 14; and Jessica Paschal, teen services librarian, effectively Aug. 31.

• the setting of a public hearing for Aug. 9 for the amendment of sections 1-6-14 D and 1-6-15 A of the Artesia Municipal Code affecting non-exempt employees’ work schedule.

• the setting of a public hearing for Aug. 9 to amend Artesia Animal Shelter fees.

• one council employee to attend the New Mexico Municipal League 65th Annual Conference in Albuquerque.

• one police employee to attend Public Safety Crowd Management training in Albuquerque.

• two police employees to attend Force Science Certification training in Nashville, Tenn.

• the use of Main Street from Bulldog Boulevard east to Second Street from 3:30-5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, for the Artesia High School Homecoming Parade.