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By Mary Alice Murphy

The Grant County Commission held its monthly work session Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017, to review the agenda for Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 regular meeting.

The first major item of business at the work session was a presentation of the expenditure report, given by Randy Hernandez, standing in for Financial Officer Linda Vasquez.

The sum of expenditures for the period ending Dec. 11, 2017, was $2,997,857.44. It includes two payroll periods for a total of $390,229.76, and extraordinary expenditures of more than $10,000 each. They are $18,064.90 to Firefighter Trucks, Inc. for equipment and service on Upper Mimbres and Pinos Altos volunteer fire departments trucks; $10,250 to Juniper Advisory LLC for retainer fee and data services; $23,553.12 to Wright Express Fleet Services for Oct. 2017 fuel charges; $14,950 to OnSolve Intermediate Holding Co. for CodeRed Emergency Notification Service; $12,434.08 to T.G. McCAuley Construction for riprap rock for road projects; $352,614.46 to White Sands Construction for Tu Casa progress billing; $36,323.01to Ascent Aviation Group for jet fuel and refueler lease; $26,261.50 to HCP Systems LLC for medical management services; $10,831.25 to Kriegel/Gray/Shaw and Co. for audit progress billing; $17,391.85 to Ascent Aviation Group for jet fuel; $17,754.80 to Fuel Center Plus for off-road diesel for the Road Department; $43.834 to David Stephens for medical management services; $44,123.85 to Southwest Solid Waste Authority for Oct. 2017 billing; $22,803.12 to Summit Food Service for Oct. 2017 inmate meals; $66,232.52 to J&J Signs for Conference Center sign progress billing; $84,227.39 to Western Builders for Santa Rita Fire Station progress billing; $13,365 to Tyler Technologies to software maintenance fees; $18,908,08 to Ascent Aviation Group for jet fuel and refueler lease; $101,858.44 to Bank of Albuquerque for debt service on gross receipts bonds; $90,877.60 to New Mexico Human Services 

Division for Oct.-Dec. 2017 safety net care pool contribution; and $44,150.03 to Southwest Solid Waste Authority for Nov. 2017 billing.

In new business, two people will give reports. Linda Nichols will present Gila Regional Medical Center financial information, and Chris DeBolt will give the quarterly report for the Area Agency on Aging, for which she serves as the Grant County representative.

Commissioners will approve or disapprove the Grant County Water Commission submitting a USDA application for the Grant County Regional Water Project's remaining phases. Commissioner Gabriel Ramos, who serves as the chairman of the entity, said the group may need to redo its JPA to make the group the entity that will control the water project.

"The USDA made a presentation to us at the last water commission meeting," Ramos said. "The gal wants to put up money for the entire project, get all the funds at one time and complete the entire project. She said that often all the money the state receives doesn't get used. This project could use all of its funding for this project and get it done. It would save time, money and paperwork to have only one project and not multiple phases."

Also under consideration on Thursday, will be approval or disapproval of a Grant County Substance Abuse and Addiction Treatment Center Advisory Board Charter.

County Manager Charlene Webb said the charter was based on other organization charters across the country.

Michael "Mischa" Larisch, county community development and planning director, said: "As we get closer to getting the center going, Dr. (Neal) Bowen (HMS chief mental health officer) was instrumental in this charter."

Webb said the document to be approved describes what the board will be doing.

Commission Chairman Brett Kasten said he didn't see anywhere in the document how it could be changed. "And what are peer consumers?"

"Peer consumer have self-identified as drug abusers who have been clean at least two years," Bowen explained. "They are also certified by the state to help with treatment."

He noted that the number nine had been recommended as a good number of members. Webb said it was manageable without growing too big

"I want to have a commissioner as a member," Kasten said. Webb said it could be done.

The charter lists the composition of the advisory board as two HMS providers, two peer consumers and five community members. Bowen said he thought a commissioner would be an asset. He said commissioners would appoint the members.

Kasten noted that former county commissioner Ron Hall has worked hard on the center, along with Susie Trujillo, Detention Center Administrator Mike Carillo, DeBolt and Larisch. "They've shown their willingness and passion for this project."

Webb said preliminary conversations have taken place on Tu Casa and the new Stepping Up program working together. "Tu Casa as triage would be a huge asset."

Bowen agreed and said it provides seamless transition from the jail to the center. He suggested the two HMS members be one mental health provider and one medical provider.

Under agreements, a professional service contract between SkyWest Media and Grant County, will be under consideration for SkyWest to design and develop a website, with maintenance being the responsibility of the county. The cost upfront is $23,000, Webb said. "Kevin Hubbs has put the data together to save us some money. This is a local vendor and I recommend we approve this contract."

Commissioner Harry Brown asked about the clause saying SkyWest has "creative control."

"We have been working with them for the Conference Center website," Webb said. "If I don't like something, they change it. But we can change the word control. It should be ready by February 1."

"And then we will own the content, right?" Brown asked. "I'm very pleased you're moving forward with this." Webb confirmed the content would belong to the county."

Resolutions to consider at the regular meeting include a policy for renting and use of Bataan Memorial Park Pavilion and Concession facilities.

General Service Director Randy Villa said the employee discount is going away. "The prices will stay the same, but everyone will pay the same."

Ramos noted that the rentals were not making enough to maintain the facilities.

Villa said the policy had gone through counsel. "We put on the application that the renter is prohibited from serving, selling or having alcoholic beverages at the site. I think it's for the entire facility. The problem is no oversight."

Webb said there would be no permits, nothing, "alcohol is prohibited." She noted, however, that other parts of the park not being rented are public.

"It's a walk-in park," Villa said. "There is nothing in those documents that said anything about alcohol."

Webb said item No. 10 in the policy should clarify that alcohol is prohibited in the pavilion and concession area. "Then we would need another policy on alcohol in the rest of the park."

Kasten asked if it needed to be an ordinance. Sheriff Raul Villanueva said: "To enforce, we would need an ordinance."

Webb said the county parks could be addressed in another ordinance.

Villa noted such an ordinance would require the posting of signage.

Kasten said since the park is inside the city limits of Santa Clara, they should check to see if the village has such an ordinance. Villanueva said Santa Clara provides law enforcement at the park and gets the first call for service. "We help when needed."

The next resolution addresses the donation of a used fire truck from Doña Ana County. It will be used by the Pinos Altos Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department at their newest station on LS Mesa.

Villa said the department is looking at a used 1989 class A engine, which is required by law for the station.

PAVFR Chief Lucy Whitmarsh said the department had requested that Jeff Woods Fire Truck Repair in Las Cruces look it over and they reported it would work for the department.

Brown asked if fire trucks have the same age restrictions as school buses.

"We cannot pay for a used truck with state fire funds, but county excise funds can serve," Whitmarsh said. "It does not affect the insurance. Doña Ana County replaced it with a new truck."

Villa said the threshold is 25 years, but the county can use carryover money. However, this is a donation between governmental entities.

Commissioner Billy Billings asked how much a new truck would cost. Whitmarsh said about $350,00. Villa added that equipping it would cost at least an additional $25,000.

The vacation of the Turnerville Subdivision plat will be approved or disapproved. Webb said further documentation is available in the Clerk's Office. The subdivision is wholly owned by Freeport-McMoRan Mines Company, and no homes remain there.

Commissioners will consider an application to the New Mexico Finance Authority to provide financial assistance and project approval for the Rosedale Road Fire Station. Larisch said the station needs an addition to bring up its rating. It will include a training room, a restroom and a room required to allow firefighters to remove contaminated clothing. The station does not have quite enough funds to pay for the addition.

A resolution amending the purchasing card program will allow the use of P cards when emergency transportation of an inmate to another facility is required. It can be used for hotels or meals. Webb said that also added was that the department using the P cards needs to approve its statement on a monthly basis. "P cards must show adequate funds on a monthly basis, also. The P cards are not allowed to be used at fast-food outlets, except in the case of inmate transportation."

Kasten asked what the ramification is for misuse of the P card.

"The person misusing the P card will receive a written warning, may be required to pay back the cost and further abuse can lead to termination," Webb said. "For instance, in the case of volunteer fire departments, when it comes time for the commission to approve the rosters, they can choose not to approve the member who has continued to misuse the cards. The number of cards has been greatly reduced."

Under the agenda item, bids and requests for proposals, commissioners will consider a bid for strategic communications and engagement consulting services to assist the county with communicating to the community on the Juniper advisory group results on the hospital survey. One bid was received from Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock. It is a short-term agreement. Webb said the group has been great to work with so far.

Webb recommended that both bids for hauling and delivery of road material and a materials bid be rejected because of an error that was found.

As the Grant County Health Plan Claims Board, commissioners will consider claims for November totaling $14,965.35. They include 7 claims for Gila Regional Medical Center for $10,066.60 and two GRMC ambulance claims for $4,898.75.

Webb also recommended approving the payment of $665.84 from May and October that was not paid last month "because of a mistake of mine."

At the end of Thursday's regular session, commissioners will go into executive session to discuss pending opioid litigation.

County officials gave reports. Carillo gave his presentation on the last month's statistics at the Detention Center. He said the jail is looking at changes that will be required for accreditation in all detention facilities statewide. They will be coming up in the legislative session.

"We have four vacancies, but have interviewed four," Carillo said. "We have also been looking at the WorkKeys program as a possible resource for the Stepping Up program."

He reported two newly hired officers had passed their CPR requirements and will continue training.

"We continue to plan for the Stepping Up program and formed a subcommittee," Carillo said. "Western New Mexico University will again help us provide gifts to children of inmates. I want to recognize Abe Villarreal, who has been instrumental in this program. We will disperse the gifts prior to Christmas."

The average daily population for the past month was 78, with the high males being 64 and high females 15. "Our high was 80 on Dec. 24, with all statistics less this month."

Brown noted that the number of unconvicted inmates is the lowest number. "Is that related to the bonding amendment?"

"The number fluctuates," Carillo said. "It usually peaks during a holiday period and then drops."

Road Department Superintendent Earl Moore said all projects are done and closed out. "We are concentrating on maintenance and patching, weather permitting. We are also looking at expanding the parking lot at the airport."

Larisch said Tu Casa is on schedule. "We had a walk through last week with HMS. The HMS board members will do a walk through on Thursday."

He said the Santa Rita Fire Station had a few changes in electrical and water issues.

"The Conference Center sign is up and operational," Larisch said. "Scott (Terry, Silver City-Grant County Chamber of Commerce director and Conference Center manager) got some good videos up."

The energy audits are done and estimates should be coming soon.

Brown asked if the estimates were the same as the report.

"They will talk to subcontractors and see which one they want to partner with," Larisch said. "They said two, maybe three months, for the estimates. That's not as soon as I thought."

Villa asked Corre Caminos Director Kim Dominguez to talk about the budget.

"We ended under budget, so we added two more bus shelters," Dominguez said. "We had ridership of 95,233, with is a little bit over 1,000 fewer riders this year. But it's better than I predicted, because our partners had budget cutbacks. We are still working on the times and stops for the new schedule. It's taking a while."

Villa said for the 51st year, the Tyrone VFD put Santa Claus on a truck and handed out, this year, more than 400 bags of goodies to Tyrone children.

"Whiskey Creek has been concerned about its station," Villa said "It has been a substation, but will become a main station, which will improve its ISO rating for insurance purposes and bring more funding. We have more than 300 volunteers in VFDs in the county, but we are always seeking more."

The airport generator is up and running. "We had an inspection of the fuel farm and received a perfect score with no inefficiencies. Of the 7,000 stations inspected, only 1,600 are without inefficiencies."

Before Boutique Air came on board, the average airline passenger count out of the Grant County Airport was 1,100. "Through the end of November this year, Boutique had had 9,800. We are working hard to get the parking fixed. We also eliminated a lot of Chinese elms and cleaned things up. I'm proud of Rebekah (Wenger, airport manager) being out there and keeping things going. We sold 14,000 gallons of aviation fuel in November. Boutique fuels at least four times a day and we are getting military and others coming in to fuel."

Billings asked how many canceled flights Boutique had had.

"I don't have those statistics," Villa said. "But I know it's many fewer than in the past. This weekend we had a flight halfway here that had to turn around because of the weather."

"Reliability is the reason why people are using Boutique," Billings said.

Villa said with Wenger on the ground, the communications are consistent. "Sometimes, the flights are late, but most of the time they come and leave on time."

He noted that on Dec. 13, the FAA and the county met for emergency plans in case of an accident, "which we hope never happens."

Brown said the airport was advertising for a position at $12 an hour. "A former airplane mechanic told me that the hourly wage was not enough for all the things the job was asking for."

Villa said the position should be willing to do jobs that are needed, but it's a basic maintenance job. "I don't think it's out of line."

Brown said he had also heard that there would be a required arrival time of 45 minutes before flight time.

"I don't know about that," Villa said. "It might be the FAA requiring that of Boutique. They need to get people there, so they know how much fuel they will need."

Brown asked about a recent fire in Cliff-Gila. Villa said he got the file from the Cliff-Gila VFD and it burned about 600 acres of private property. "I was on scene. They did a good job of protecting homes. My first priority is to get the resources there. My second priority is to get the report."

Sheriff Raul Villanueva had nothing to report.

Webb said she had put the draft meeting calendar for 2018 in commissioners' boxes and asked them to look it over. "I left it at the third Thursday, avoided school breaks and moved it up in January to avoid the legislative session. My office has been extremely busy."

Ramos thanked Bernadette Coleman for keeping everyone on track as the administrative assistant.

The regular meeting will take place at 9 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 21,2017, at the Grant County Administration Center.

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