The January 11th City Council Meeting started with a request for city facilities from the Outkast Softball Organization. The organization requested the use of the Girls Softball Fields at Jaycee Park to host the Outkast Winter Classic Camp to be held from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm on the following dates: January 15th, 22nd, 29th, February 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th. The winter softball camp would collect a fee from camp participants as a fundraiser event for the team. Gabriel Longoria Sr. was in attendance to represent Outkast. Mr. Longoria explained that Outkast is growing and looking to add 6U and 10U teams to their organization. The Recreation Committee expressed hesitation in approving the request because a single traveling team would benefit monetarily from the use of city property which is intended for the benefit of all citizens. After some discussion about whether or not the request could be changed for the team to hold tryouts or practice rather than a camp between Councilman Rodriguez and Mr. Longoria, a compromise was reached with a motion that the Outkast Softball Organization could reserve the Girls Softball Complex on the dates listed above for practice time contingent upon proof of insurance and emailed proof of permission from the President of the Girls Softball Association. The request to hold camps will return to the Recreation Committee for further discussion to see if there is a way that camps could be held to the benefit of all.
Sandi Countryman, Director of Human Resources, introduced Daniel Holmes, the new city prosecutor. Mr. Holmes hails from Pennsylvania originally but has lived in New Mexico for the past three years. Mr. Holmes offices out of the Public Safety Complex and invites anyone to stop by or to call the office to learn more about what the role of the city prosecutor does. Mrs. Countryman also made a note of the official minimum wage increase for New Mexico and how that will affect city personnel.
During the Period for Hearing Visitors, Danny Fletcher of HolTech of Carlsbad introduced himself to the City Council. He explained that the nature of his visit was to share information about the HolTech company. Mr. Fletcher presented informational booklets to those in attendance of the meeting.
Rob Wachter, Economic Development Director of the Artesia Chamber of Commerce, also stood to make note of the monitor wells being drilled at 10th and Main Streets during his three minutes to speak. The location referred to is near the Old Henry’s BBQ.
Police Chief Roberts asked for approval from council to use grant funds previously allocated for a training center at the old jail at 702 W. Chisum to purchase two new specialty vehicles and to refit another unit. The training center bid process revealed that the project was not big enough for large companies and too large for smaller companies. Council approved this request to use the funds for vehicle purchase.
Chief Roberts reported that zero robberies occured in the city during his statistics report. 21 dogs are currently being housed at the animal shelter. The animal shelter can hold a maximum of 50 dogs.
Fire Chief Keven Hope reported to the Council that the five new cadets began the training academy this past week. After fire training, they will begin EMT training after April.
Next up, Jim McGuire of Community Development. Mr. McGuire reported on the Aquatic Center. The staff at the pool is running on a skeleton crew at the moment due to Covid cases and Covid related quarantines. The Aquatic Center is also working to get a few parts replaced on the outdoor pool.
Byron Landfair of Infrastructure gave a brief overview of the work being done to remove airlocks in the water pipes.
Outgoing City Attorney, Matthew Byers, thanked the City of Artesia and Judge Sarah Gallegos during his time to speak, and then the meeting progressed to the appointment of Summer Valverde as City Clerk/Treasurer. Aubrey Hobson did the honor of swearing in Ms. Valverde.
The Mayor, Raye Miller, finished off the City Council Meeting with some general updates on Artesia. He sees the city seems better off from a revenue perspective than it was in years previous. The greater revenues seem to be the result of the large-scale refinery projects currently underway. The city’s overall financial situation is improved going into 2022. The city looks now to improve its infrastructure: water, sewer, streets. Two projects to fall into this category are using ICIP funds for wells and a reengineering of Hermosa and 26th streets. The ICIP funds are a type of state funds specially geared towards these types of projects.