The Artesia City Council approved a resolution adopting new procedures to comply with the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) at their meeting Tuesday at City Hall.
The procedures were adopted by the State of New Mexico in 2021 and 2022.
According to Summer Valverde, city clerk, the IPRA now has stricter compliance and significant penalties for failure to comply, so the City of Artesia’s policy was reviewed and changed in order to guide staff in proper practices related to the receipt and processing of records.
Language was also added to the policy, describing the application of exceptions, processes for denials, and required processes and limitations on requests for extensions, as well as the a review of the schedule of fees.
“IPRA is an ever-growing issue within the state,” said Mayor Jon Henry. “The state doesn’t seem to be doing much about it.”
Also instituted at Tuesday’s meeting were new facility-use fees for the Artesia Center, which were added to the city’s previously approved facility-use fees for Jaycee Park.
Fees now include:
• Rental fee: $750 per day
• Deposit: $500, non-refundable if city personnel assists with set-up and clean-up for the event
Turf Soccer and Football Fields
• Rental fee: $500 per day
• Refundable deposit: $1,000
• Bathroom cleaning fee: $250 per event
• Lighting fee: $20 per hour, per light bank
All Other Fields
• Rental fee: $50 per day
• Bathroom cleaning fee: $250 per event
• Lighting fee: $20 per hour, per field
The council also approved a $500,000 grant application from the State of New Mexico for a NinjaCross retractable obstacle course for the Artesia Aquatic Center. The project would be added to the City of Artesia Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan (ICIP) if the grant is received.
The NinjaCross course would hang from the ceiling above the pool and would be lowered during certain hours and get raised back up when not in use. The course would use up two or three lanes of the pool.
“If you buy one, you get put on a national registry,” said Henry. “The next closest one is in Utah. There are competitions held on these courses. It would be a great way to create revenue and excitement at the pool in the winter. We could have a lot of fun with something like this and help draw people to town.”
In other business, the council approved a request for standby ambulance for the City of Champions Professional Rodeo from 1-3 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, and Saturday, Sept. 23, and from 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24.
Artesia Chief of Police Kirk Roberts reported graffiti has increased around town, which normally happens at the beginning and the end of summer. He also reported an increase in accidents with injuries as the school year started.
Crime statistics for the month of August included seven instances of graffiti, seven accidents with injuries, and seven auto burglaries. There was also one report of residential burglary.
The council approved an application for financial assistance to the Water Trust Board for funding for a new well at the Bulldog well location. Infrastructure Director Byron Landfair reported the estimated total cost of the well project at around $2.2 million.
The council also approved a temporary power line/mobile substation agreement with Southwestern Public Service Company at the intersection of North 13th Street and West Gilchrist Avenue from August to December 2024. Landfair explained the purpose of the temporary substation is so they can work on their main yard.
Fire Chief Kevin Hope reported 211 total calls for the Artesia Fire Department in August, including 17 fire calls within city limits and seven within the county, and 147 city and 40 county EMS calls.
In a closed session, the council upheld an employee suspension in the Infrastructure Department.
As part of its consent agenda, the council granted permission for:
• an agreement with the Department of Finance for HB2 matching grant appropriation.
• an agreement between the State of New Mexico Tourism Department and the City of Artesia for the Clean & Beautiful grant program.
• an agreement with the Department of Finance for capital appropriation projects 23-H3007 and 23-H3009.
• the promotions of Angel Gonzales to water foreman at a pay rate of $5,670.05 per month and James Minter to police sergeant at a pay rate of $6,108.27 per month.
• the resignations of Dayton Durbin, Parks Department Equipment Operator I, effective Aug. 29; Alex Resendiz, Facilities Maintenance Department Tech I, effective Sept. 1; Journey Roberson, Artesia Public Library Summer Reading Program helper, effective July 26; Elijah Lopez, Finance and Administration Department summer intern, effective July 26; and Valerie Martin, library temporary employee, effective Aug. 18.