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HomeNewsCity council hears updates on interim budget, airport project

City council hears updates on interim budget, airport project

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For the Daily Press

At the Artesia City Council’s most recent meeting, Artesia Police Department (APD) Cmdr. David Rodriguez of the Criminal Investigation Division gave an update on the high-profile homicide involving the death of a newborn baby in Artesia.

Rodriguez verified that charges have been filed, an arrest has been made, and the case has been moved to Fifth Judicial District Court, where a trial will take place. Rodriguez gave high praise to his detectives and the patrolling officers working on this case.

“This was a difficult scene to actually work,” said Rodriguez. “I’ve been a detective for 12 years. I’ve worked every single homicide we’ve had in this county. This is by far the most difficult we’ve ever had to work.”

Rodriguez expressed gratitude for a very supportive council and city.

“Unfortunately, this case has gone out and it’s international now,” continued Rodriguez. “Our officers try to keep it as low-profile as possible.”

Infrastructure Director Byron Landfair reported Phase III of the 20th Street Reconstruction Project has 19 days remaining in the current contract. However, the city is in negotiations with an outside utility company to lower their utilities, which will affect the project.

The city is negotiating with an outside contractor to change traffic control for Phase IV of the 20th Street Reconstruction Project, which will require a budget change because the contingency has been used up. Landfair also reported the city will be working with Eddy County on redoing 13th Street from Richey Avenue to U.S. 285. Landfair also reported he attended the first Event board meeting to set rates for private industries to use city facilities, and recommendations will come before the council later.

The council approved the adoption of the Fiscal Year 2023-24 Interim Budget. City Clerk Summer Valverde reported the city is currently over budget by $2,070,000, with the year-end final at the end of June. The budget committee had created and shared their recommendations.

The council approved the task order for the Artesia Municipal Airport taxiway project and approved city staff to seek the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding. Airport manager Lance Goodrich said the FAA decided they would fund 90 percent of the refurbishment of a 35-foot taxiway instead of the current 50-foot taxiway because they determined the type of air traffic at the Artesia airport did not require a 50-foot taxiway.

A new task order is required because of the change from a 50foot taxiway to a 35-foot taxiway with a new engineering firm.

“After the engineering firm has completed the plan we will know the amount, but the FAA is estimating around $3 million,” said Valverde.

“The taxi way is the one that goes all the way around the airport is now 50-feet,” said Goodrich. “I hope to maintain the 50-feet. The military originally built it as 50 feet wide because of the winds here.”

The council approved a public hearing for June 27 to amend Ordinance 615 Sections 1-6-4, 1-6-5, 1- 6-6, 1-67, and 1-6-16 of employee practices and regulations.

Discussion lead by Mayor Jon Henry was to clarify that the city is looking at changing the practice of accruing vacation in the first six months of employment so the city is more competitive with other employers. More discussion will take place at the public hearing.

Community Development Director Jim McGuire reported they have engaged a consultant to update the comprehensive city plan and it will take about a year to complete.

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

• a public hearing on June 27 to consider and approve an ordinance for Case No. 23-01: Zone Change from suburban acreage, type 2 district (SA-2) to business district (C). Request to change the zoning district of one lot from SA-2 to C; Location: South of 112 S. 33rd Street; Legal: Lot 7, Block 2, Charley H. Smith Addition; Owner: NM Tiny Homes, LLC.

• a public hearing on June 27 to consider and approve an ordinance for Case No. 23-02: Annexation and zoning designation to light industrial district (M-1). Request to annex 32.882 acres and designate the zoning district to M-1; Location: Between 103 and 117 E. Compress Road; Legal: The W/2 E/2 NW/4 Less the East 50 Feet and Less Tract B of the Karr boundary line adjustment, in Section 33, Township 16 South, Range 26 East, to the County of Eddy, New Mexico; and the North 30 Feet Public R.O.W. of tract A of the Williams/ Gray boundary line adjustment in Section 28, Township 16 South, Range 26 East; Owners: City of Artesia and Gray Farm, LLC.

• a public hearing on June 27 to consider and approve an ordinance for an amendment to Section 9-9-2.F.9 of the zoning regulations. Providing additional clarifications for allowing open frame carports to encroach into the required front yard setback.

• a public hearing on June 27 to consider and approve an ordinance for amendments to Sections 9-2-2 and 9-4-3 of the Zoning Regulations. Adding the definition model home(s) and including them as permitted uses in the R-1A and R-1B zoning districts, as well as the other zoning districts that permit anything allowed in those two districts.

• a public hearing on June 27 to consider and approve an ordinance for amendments to Sections 9-12-2, 9-12-7, and 9-12-10 of the zoning regulations. Providing provisions to allow home businesses that are in conformance with the New Mexico Homemade Food Act.

• the promotion of of Angel Torres-Gonzales to Uncertified Police Officer

• the resignation of Valerie Martin, library supervisor

• travel and training for one fire department employee to attend the ICS-400 in Santa Fe, four fire employees to attend the Fire Service Instructor I (ECFR) in Carlsbad, one police employee to attend the State Memorial Service and Chiefs Exec. Board Meeting in Santa Fe, and two police to attend the Child Passenger Safety Certification program in Albuquerque.

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