Estancia Trustees Focus on Baseball Field Improvements

Estancia Trustees Focus on Baseball Field Improvements
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The August 21, 2023, Estancia Board of Trustees meeting focused on baseball. Architect Joe Brawley of Brawley and Co., LLC, an Albuquerque architecture and project management firm, presented his suggestions to the trustees, Mayor Nathan Dial, and Deputy Clerk Roy Hubbard. Trustee Sandra Chavez and Estancia Clerk Michelle Jones were absent at this board meeting. Brawley laid out a plan to update the buildings surrounding the ballfield, the irrigation system, the outfield fencing and backstop, and the lighting system. He estimated the total costs of renovations to the ballfield would be approximately $550,000. Brawley suggested that the town may be able to get funding for this project from the Central New Mexico Electric Cooperative ("CNMEC").

Midjourney Image - Todd Brogowski/Mountainair Dispatch

Trustee Albert Lovato said that the project, particularly the lighting, would bring more revenue to the town through the ability of little league and club teams to play night games on the field. Mayor Dial stated he supported doing the whole project described by Brawley, as did Trustee J. Morrow Hall, who also endorsed seeking funding from CNMEC. "We need to beat the bushes," Hall said, "so contractors we know will be aware of the RFP."

Sewer Repair Midjourney Image - Todd Brogowski/Mountainair Dispatch

During the public comment portion of the trustees' meeting, Estancia resident Joe Morella advised the board of a sewer problem he was experiencing at his residence on Leonard Avenue, east of Center Street. Morella explained that he had been smelling sewer gas and experiencing flow problems. Morella explained he built his own connection to the Estancia sewer system and wanted to know if any additions to the sewer system might be impacting his homemade connection to the sewer system. Mayor Dial said the town should have its sewer camera contractor, Mark Simon, scope near Morella's residence when he scoped the sewer system along Alan Ayers Road.

Midjourney Image - Todd Brogowski/Mountainair Dispatch

Interim Chief Jason Downing spoke before the Estancia Board of Trustees, advising that he had a "good problem." Downing said that due to the town's recent hiring of officers, the Estancia Police Department needed more patrol vehicles. Downing explained that the police department had been using two old Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs to reduce costs, but they had reached the end of their usable lifespan. Downing advised the trustees that he had applied for a USDA grant to purchase a cruiser but did not expect a decision from them for at least six months. If a cruiser was purchased, Downing expected it would also include a six-month wait list for the cruiser to come in after purchase.

Aaron Moore of the Mid-Region Council of Governments spoke with the board via video about a meeting on Wednesday, August 23, 2023, at 6:00 PM in the Moriarty Council Chambers regarding New Mexico Department of Transportation ("NMDOT") planning. Moore advised that this may offer solutions to the town of Estancia for purchasing a police cruiser.

During the trustee and mayor comment portion of the Estancia Board of Trustees meeting, Trustee Hall stated he wanted to write Congress regarding his concerns over the local post office. Hall said that the post office employees had taken away the garbage can from the PO Box portion of the post office, which meant that he could not through away junk mail at the post office. Hall also expressed frustration that a portion of the outdoor mailbox at the post office had been removed because it meant he had to get out of his vehicle to drop off mail. Hall also said he wanted to review and change the salary levels for the Board of Trustees before the next election. Hall said he wanted to do this to increase the salary for general members and a larger increase for whoever ended up in the mayor pro tem role after the next election.

Lovato said he shared Hall's concerns regarding the Estancia post office. He described the postal employees as rude to customers. Lovato praised the Estancia Police Department for conducting patrols around the schools.

Mayor Dial said that he would be forming a hiring committee for the remaining police department vacancies and that this committee would meet on Thursday, August 24, 2023, at 3:00 PM. Dial explained that Representative Melanie Stansbury (D-NM1) had financed a solution for flooding issues experienced in Estancia. He said the town had also received $1 million in funding for flooding from the office of Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and that the Army Corps of Engineers would receive direct funding for work related to this funding. It is still being determined what specific projects are in the works for flooding mitigation.

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