Monday, November 16, 2009

October Minutes

October 8, 2009

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Town of La Jara was called to order by Mayor Austin Valdez at 7:00pm. The roll was called. Present: Trustees Paula Medina, Tiffanie Polkowske, Henry Schimpf, Larry Zaragoza, Patrick Montoya, Earl Haslett, and Mayor Austin Valdez. Also present were Town Manager Bill Yohey, Maintenance Supervisor Keith Martinez, Interim Chief of Police Dan Martinez, Town Clerk Priscilla Schimpf, Temporary Town Clerk Karol Wilson, Town Attorney Ray Valdez.


Josie Cordova from Northerners Senior Citizens respectfully requested a $2000.00 donation from the town to support the services they provide to the area seniors. The number of services provided to the elderly in 2008 was 9,522. This year, through September they are at 8,202. The average is 911.33 services provided per month, and will have served a total of 10,940 elderly by the end of the year. Services provided on a monthly basis: health clinic, foot doctor, trips, birthdays, anniversary recognition, dances, exercise, puzzles and education on senior issues, information and referrals. Congregate and homebound noon meals are provided on a daily basis five days a week. Their greatest expense is the delivery of meals, vehicle insurance, liability and building contents. Their income is continually being cut. The Area Agency on Aging had their funds cut, so in turn they can’t fund Northerners. Donations have been cut. The is no longer paying them to take people to their casino. The county commissioners continue to support them and grants are being sought, but local matches are needed to obtain these grants. Josie thanked the Board and Town for their support in the past and hopes they will consider her request as the number of seniors continues to grow, and providing services is a struggle.


Town Manager: We have the waste water renewal permit finally. Language on the agreement needed to be addressed and that is coming along. There has been some political activity in the valley the last couple of weeks, with interest in our water situation. Governor Ritter says there will be no taking of our water unless there is a symbiotic relationship. Patrick asked Bill when Cort is coming down again and what does he plan on doing about our lagoon problem…he hasn’t given us anything. Bill said he has been calling Cort, trying to put a fire under him. A motion to accept Bill’s report was made by Paula seconded by Henry.

Building Inspector: Earl asked Joe to go see Jim Quirco and find out what he is doing with the remodeling and collect extension fees. There are still boundary issues on Charles Lopez’s request for a fence permit, so no fence yet. A motion to accept Joe’s report was made by Patrick, seconded by Henry and passed.

Court: A motion to accept the judge’s report was made by Larry, seconded by Earl and passed.

Police: Lucas has 3 days remaining vacation, with his anniversary date of 7/11/09. Patrick made the motion to move Lucas off the probationary period and instate him as a full time officer, seconded by Paula. The mayor asked for roll-call vote: Paula-yes, Patrick-yes, Tiffanie-yes, Henry-yes, Earl-yes, Larry-yes, Austin-yes. Dan said he would type a letter informing Lucas he is off probation. Dan said he has already scheduled classes at school. He requested someone be on call for him while he is attending classes, at least for this semester, then next semester he will plan differently. Lucas is not available to cover days. The Board suggested to Dan to do what he can to cover. Dan stated that he pays for his covers out of his own pocket. Paula made the motion to accept the report with Patrick making a second. Motion carried.

Maintenance: The meters at the pump house need to be calibrated. The heads need to be rotated from 12:00 to 3:00. The town water will have to shut off on Friday morning. Keith is sorry for the short notice and inconvenience, but he will wait until 10:00 a.m. to shut off the water and hopefully he can have it back on by 11:00 a.m. He has purchased 20 locks for delinquent/shutoffs. He also stated there is no flow from the 1st lagoon into the 2nd one. The pipes are visable. He can’t make the lagoons flow. There was discussion regarding Keith’s comp. time accrual. Some thought the policy says that comp time has to be taken within 4 months, with either time off or monetary compensation. The Board wants that policy checked into about whether it can be accumulated or cashed out. Bill says that after speaking with a government employee regarding comp time issues, every quarter the employee can take the time, and the next ¼ they take the money.
Tiffanie asked about when the speed limit sign on First is going to be moved. Keith stated he is waiting for Dan to let him know where it can be properly and legally placed. A motion was made by Patrick and seconded by Paula to officially have that speed limit sign that is next to Polkowske’s property moved. The motion passed. Earl brought up the issue that at last board meeting, he stated he wanted to see all employee’s vacation, sick time and comp. time logs as part of each department’s report. He was reminded by other Board members that his request was done at the end of the meeting and it had not been put into a motion. The Board discussed that they would like to see everyone’s use of time. Keith asked what he should do about the remaining year if he accumulates more comp. time? They said he will get what is coming to him through the Third quarter. Paula made the motion, seconded by Earl to accept Keith’s report and it carried.

Paula - Nothing
Patrick asked about the retirement plan issue. He was told again that it is up to what is in the budget. He stated that the ball field is worse and asked if the town could get someone to plow it and get dirt from the county to fill it. He asked if Keith could use the town’s dump truck and haul the dirt from the county shops. Discussion followed regarding whether this is a school park or a town park. Tiffanie reminded them that there is a 25 year agreement with the town per GOCO. Ray suggested that we ask Curtis Chavez to come rototill or disc the ball field first. Then see if more fill dirt is needed. Patrick said Iggy has fill dirt, and wants Keith to haul the dirt in the town dump truck on a Saturday. Keith reminded them this would just add to his comp time. Patrick said he would drive the dump truck and the issue of insurance and liability came up. Patrick came up with a 3-fold plan: 1. Get the ground tilled. 2. Ask the county if they can haul the dirt from their pile to fill in the ball field. 3. If they can’t then ask Keith to do it on a Saturday. Keith said he will do it during working hours. Patrick also asked what other town resources will be committed to this park? Dan asked who is he supposed to approach now, in regards to Glory Days and using the ball field as in the past?

Tiffanie stated again that she isn’t happy with the apology letter from the town, and is disappointed that it was sent out before it had been approved. She asked if a new letter has been sent out yet. Larry said he would draft a new letter of apology since the letter was his idea in the first place. Suggestion of the August minutes- Karol didn’t remember that she was supposed to email the approved minutes to Tiffanie, so those minutes were written over with the September minutes. Tiffanie said she will make a footnote that the minutes on the blog are summarized.


Earl -nothing

Larry wanted to mention that wood chips are a good, cheaper option for ground cover for the new park.

Ray stated that the Proclamation for the dedication of Joe S. Chavez Drive has been sent to the County Clerk for recording and that the town clerk had sent letters informing all residents that they need to contact their banks, insurance companies, lenders, creditors and the county clerk and motor vehicle department to inform them of the street name change. Ray asked if a more concise water usage bill for a particular former water/sewer customer couldn’t be made available to him before he proceeds with litigation. The clerk will look into finding a way to print a more concise bill. Patrick asked if this is worth going after. Ray said small claims court would be a better venue. Tiffanie made a motion for a resolution to charge new water/sewer customers a 2 month deposit when they come to establish an account. Residential customers would pay a $60.00 deposit and commercial accounts would be charged $100.00. This money will have to be put in a separate account in order to refund it back. Paula seconded this motion and it carried. Ray will write the new resolution.

Austin wants to do something for Richard for his retirement. Suggestions were made and a spending limit was set. Patrick moved, seconded by Larry that $500.00 be allowed, with the details left up to Dan. Paula suggested a reception be held either at the Senior center or the Police Department. The date will be set later.

Clerks report: Paula motioned to accept, seconded by Henry. Approval of Minutes:

Regular Meeting September 10, 2009 – Paula asked what happened with the pickup from the attempted robbery of Jack’s Market. Dan said the pickup had been released to the owner from Santa Fe, where it had been stolen. Austin said the pickup should have never been released. Dan stated he didn’t know anything about it being released until the Chief told him. A motion to approve the minutes was made by Tiffanie and seconded by Henry. Motion carried.

Follow-Up of Minutes: Has Cass answered where to put the money collected for the maintenance department cutting the weeds at #3 Willow? Priscilla said the money was just posted in the wrong GL account.

Approval of Bills: Patrick asked about the bill from George Gallegos. He thought Dale Cornum was paying for the rock. Keith informed him that the town had said they would pay for it one time. Dale did go to the bus garage and thank Austin and the Board and the maintenance department for the rock and the work. There was discussion to cancel our contract with ComPhone and ValCom. We don’t need their services. There was a question regarding a payment to Galls for flashers and grill lights. Why were these ordered and paid for when these items had been donated by the state patrol? Karol stated that Richard had called and asked for a purchase order for Galls for flashers and grill lights, and she didn’t know any different. So when the bill came in, she paid it. Larry made a motion, seconded by Henry to approve the bills. Motion carried.

Ray asked if we are replacing officers, now that Richard retires. Discussions followed regarding advertising for an officer and whether we should have an outside screening committee to review the applicants or have the board conduct the interviews. We have had members of other cities’ police and sheriff departments sit in on the review committee. The Board was reminded that it costs us money to pay these outside law enforcement committee members to sit in. Ray said the idea of hiring from within is appealing and Tiffanie said she would rather go with someone she already knows. It helps to know how they treat the town’s people and how well they do their reports. Ray said a committee can make a recommendation, but the Board has the ultimate say. Even if we hire from within, we still need another officer. Earl wants to see Dan compensated since he has stepped into the chief’s shoes. A motion was made by Patrick, and seconded by Tiffanie that we make Dan the interim Chief and advertise for a 4th officer. The motion passed by a roll call vote. Dan stated that things are slowing down now, and a 4th officer wouldn’t be needed until Spring. It was discussed that it will take that long to advertise and hire someone. More discussion followed about whether to advertise for a Chief of Police or hire from within and use part-timers when needed. Dan stated that they can’t always get part-timers. Tiffanie suggested that we advertise for a 4th officer and hire from within for Chief. Hiring from within, Dan would come on as a new hire and would be on probation for 1 year. A motion was made by Larry and seconded by Tiffanie to instate Dan(with a probationary period) as the new Chief, effective November 1, 2009. This will be done at the next Town Board Meeting. Motion carried by roll call vote. Paula made the motion to promote Jerry Lujan to Sargent, also effective Nov. 1, 2009 (interim until then). Henry seconded the motion and it passed by roll call vote. Discussion of moving Lucas to LJ3 was tabled to the next meeting.

Other Business: Priscilla presented the budget proposal. She stated that Cass says there is a $134,000.00 deficit and she would like to see the proposal cut in half. Austin went through each line item and proposed cuts, but couldn’t come close to cutting it in half. Priscilla reminded the Board that the Budget hearings have to be in November. She also reminded them that the employees got a 3% raise last year. Retirement matches will go up for Dan and Jerry with their new promotions. Tiffanie stated that if we cut the town manager position, we would cut $60,000.00. Paula told her that times are changing and we need someone to be responsible for the town and the grants and the lagoon problems. Karol asked who else is going to get the work done if there is no town manager. Someone asked how the town got so far behind. Austin said it isn’t a matter of the town getting behind, it is a matter of not enough revenue being created. The best thing for the town would be to force the La Jara Trading Post into the town limits. That would increase our sales tax revenue. Ray will look into the cost of bringing LJTP into town. Patrick suggested everyone start talking up a vote to increase the sales tax by ½ to 1%. Priscilla was asked if it isn’t too much trouble, could she figure how much our revenues collected now would increase if we went up ½ %. She said she would look into it.

The Board Retreat has been set for Wednesday, October 21 from 5-9. Paula will let the Board members know the location. The facilitator will be Tim Dellett.

Roll off dates will be the same as last year, the last weekend of October and the first weekend of November. Those dates will be put on the water bills.

The sewer issue for Henry and Gilbert Lopez, the policy/procedure revisions and the committee meetings discussions were tabled to the next meeting. There being no further business, a motion was made by Patrick to adjourn at 10:35p.m.