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City approves fireworks, charcoal grill ban at Jaycee Park

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The Artesia City Council convened Tuesday night for yet another quick meeting.

The councilors discussed and voted to approve a request from the Artesia Fire Department to ban the use of personal fireworks and charcoal grills inside Jaycee Park – including the parking lot areas – during the Fourth of July celebration.

The use of gas grills will be permitted. City Clerk Aubrey Hobson reported on the Department of Finance and Administration’s (DFA) approval of the interim 2016-17 budget for the city, as well as utility liens and an approval of the Bad Debts Resolution.

The interim budget was approved by the DFA; however, in their report, the reserves budget was discussed. Usually, Hobson noted, the DFA isn’t keen on a city using a reserves fund for operating expenses and would rather see that money go toward a specific project. But in light of the city’s current stagnant economic condition, the DFA deemed using reserve funds acceptable.

Utility liens will be filed on account holders whose closed water accounts are more than one year old, or where the last month’s usage of the account is $100 or more than the deposit. Before that action is taken, the city will contact each person individually via a letter in the mail stating how much they owe and how many days they have to pay. After a certain amount of time, a legal ad will be placed in the Daily Press stating account holders’ names and what they owe.

The Bad Debts Resolution that was passed discussed past-due accounts from the 2011-12 fiscal year. These accounts will be deleted from an accounting point of view, as the city doesn’t necessarily expect this money to be paid back. This will not, however, erase the debt from the previous account holder.

In other business, the councilors approved the consent agenda, which included:

• a purchase service contract with the Eddy County DWI Program for DWI offender compliance.

• a support letter for Mayor Phillip Burch for the position of director-at-large for the 2016-17 New Mexico Municipal League Board.

• ratification of Burch’s approval to set a public hearing for July 12 for consideration of a zone change from “SA-2” Suburban Acreage District to “C” Business District for 315 S. 39th St., Lots 13 and 14, Block 3, of the Davis No. 2 Subdivision.

• ratification of Burch’s approval to set a public hearing for July 12 for consideration of the annexation and designation of zoning districts in the Northpark Annexation, including sections of the public right-of-way of 13th Street, Compress Road and U.S. 285.

• a request by First United Methodist Church for the use of Central Park from 3:30-8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21, for its annual Round-Up.

• a request by Forever Free Fellowship for the use of Guadalupe Park from 6-9 p.m. July 16- 24 for its annual tent revival.

In accordance with the Open Meetings Act, the council also adjourned near the end of the meeting in a closed executive session to discuss the purchase of real property. No action was taken during the session.

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