There are two important presentations to be given, neither with back-up materials in the city packet.
First, the project manager from Wilson & Company, Alfredo Holguin, will give a presentation on the $9.4-million water and wastewater project the city will undertake over the next three years, if a loan agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture is approved, which is later in the agenda.
Second, Landis + Gyr, the company hired for $1 million to supply smart meters for the city’s 4,100 electric-utility customers will give a presentation.
There has been public push-back over the smart-meter purchase. Various people have gone to the mic during public comment to state health problems are related to the electro-magnetic waves the machines emit. People have also complained the City Commission purchased the meters without public input, although customer fees will pay for them.
Mayor Pro-tem Kathy Clark promised she would put the issue of purchasing smart meters on the agenda, but this allows for no question-and-answer participation with the City Commission or the presenter, since it is not a public hearing. Public comment has been held until after the presentation, however, which allows speakers three minutes of one-way communication.
Under “public hearings” is an ordinance to enter into a loan agreement with the New Mexico Environment Department, which will pay for repairs to a vacuum sanitary sewer system that services about 300 customers between the river and Veater Street. The loan is $373,000 at 1.2 percent interest over 20 years. NMED is giving the city a grant of $100,000, which will also go to completing the project.
Under “ordinances/resolutions/zoning” are several items for discussion and possible action.
The city commission will discuss an ordinance that proposes to change the Planning and Zoning Commission from five to three members. Several years ago the P&Z members resigned and were never replaced. This item was put on the agenda by City Clerk Renee Cantin.
The ordinance states it will amend the city code Chapter 16, section 11-2-2, parts D and F, but it only includes a change to part D, simply striking out “five” and substituting “three.” Part F states a simple majority vote of a quorum is necessary to approve a measure. If the City Commission approves the ordinance, two members could pass a measure if one member were absent.
The Planning and Zoning Commission has final approval on home-occupation permits and conditional-use permits. All other planning and zoning decisions by the P&Z board go to the City Commission as recommendations.
The number of Planning and Zoning Commissioners is also addressed in Article IV, “Boards and Commissions,” of the city code, which also states that board will have five members. Amending this part of the code is not addressed in the proposed ordinance.
The next item is a resolution “authorizing indebtedness for the purpose of providing a portion of the cost of acquiring, constructing, enlarging and improving, and or extending the community water system.” The debt is for a nearly $5.5 million revenue-bond.
A bond or bonds would be sold by the city, the sale to be overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Office. No interest rate can be set until the bond issue, but a plug-in value of 2.125 percent over 40 years is proposed in the resolution.
The city must prove it has 2,703 residential and 555 non-residential sewer and water customers who will generate $1,323,613 in bill-paying revenue a year before the Rural Development Office will agree to the loan, according to a letter from that office.
The USDA will give the city a grant of nearly $4 million, bringing the project total up to $9.4 million.
The Rural Development Office letter states the project will consist of the following:
–Replace 32,800 linear feet of 6-inch, 8-inch and 12-inch old and leaking lines on Broadway, Main, Pershing, Foch, Daniels, McAdoo, N. Broadway and Austin streets. The document does not clarify if the lines are water and sewer lines.
–Replace gas chlorination system at the Cook Street Facility.
–Install variable booster drives on existing booster pumps at the Cook Street Facility.
–Install a new backup generator at the Cook Street Facility.
–Upgrade the drinking water SCADA/HMI system (supervisory control and data acquisition/human machine interface system).
–Replace remote terminal units at the Cook Street Facility, well #1 and booster station, well #2, well #4, well #6, well #7, well #8, Morgan Tank and Booster Station, Pershing Booster Station, Cemetery Road Tanks and Dispatch Center.
The city must consult with the New Mexico State Historic Preservation Office to avoid damage to historic properties in the Hot Springs District, according to the Rural Development Office letter.
There is another “debt authorizing” resolution on the agenda for $925,000. This is essentially a bridge loan to start the $9.4-million water and wastewater project, to be given by the Rural Community Assistance Corporation. The RCAC is a non-profit organization that works with low-income communities, especially on water-system improvements, to ensure they have clean drinking water.
No details about the loan are in the packet.
There is a resolution for a complex budget adjustment that gives no summary of the impact to the general fund.
It appears the city will be the pass-through agent for $600,000 in Senior-Joint-Office-on-Aging funds to be used for building renovations and vehicle purchases. In addition, the water department will spend $55,000, the electric department will spend almost $250,000, the street department will spend $40,000, the wastewater department $48,000, the solid waste department $20,000 more than budgeted.
Near the end of the agenda City Commissioner George Szigeti will address the issue of electric rates for the city-owned utility. Evidently the Public Utility Advisory Board recommended the rates be lowered.