Town Council Addresses Real Estate Proposals, Sale of Fire Trucks, and Reinvestment of Municipal Funds

Town Council Addresses Real Estate Proposals, Sale of Fire Trucks, and Reinvestment of Municipal Funds

On Tuesday, May 16, 2023, the Mountainair Town Council met for two sessions: the first was a special session addressing the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY2024) budget (this will be addressed separately). The second session was dedicated to regular matters.

During the second session, Town Clerk Dennis Fulfer sought approval to send the budget from the first session to the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration (NMDFA). The town council unanimously approved Fulfer’s submission of the budget.

Proposed Sale of Unused Portion of 3rd Street

Satellite imagery depicting the part of 3rd Street being proposed for purchase.
Proposed Area of 3rd Street for Purchase: Satellite Imagery by Google under its Terms of Use; Overlay by Mountainair Dispatch

Following the close of budgetary business, the town council addressed a proposal put forward by Frank Anaya to purchase an unused portion of road from the town. Frank Anaya sought to purchase an unused portion of 3rd Street, going from NM-55 to the BNSF railroad. Frank Anaya began his statement with conciliatory language, saying he apologized for any bad blood that he might have created, and offering to help the town by cleaning vacant lots. Mayor Peter Nieto said he appreciated all Anaya and his sons had done for the town, explaining that he had gone to school with Chris and John Anaya. Nieto told Frank Anaya that he was opposed to selling the town’s properties, citing concerns regarding fire access. City Councilor Ernie Lopez agreed with Mayor Nieto. Frank Anaya responded by saying that he hoped that Mountainair would maintain the property if it would not sell the property. Frank Anaya elaborated, saying that he believed that Mountainair Public Works should do more to maintain alleys in town. The town council unanimously rejected the proposal to purchase the unused portion of 3rd Street.

Street view of proposed area of 3rd Street for Purchase looking towards the BNSF Railroad, with a train passing in the background, and an overlay providing latitude and longitude of the location (34.518297, -106.240832), elevation (6,512 ft), and date and time of the photograph (May 20, 2023 at 18:37 MDT).
Street view of proposed area of 3rd Street for Purchase looking towards the BNSF Railroad: Overlay courtesy of Theodolite; Photo by Mountainair Dispatch

Proposed Sale of Commercial Land at the Corner of US-60 and NM-55

Following his unsuccessful attempt to purchase the unused and unopen section of 3rd Street, Frank Anaya put forward a proposal for purchasing commercial property located at the corner of NM-55 and US-60.

Satellite imagery and an overlay showing the commercial property on the corner of NM-55 and US-60 sought for purchase by John Anaya and his associates. The property includes an abandoned commercial building.
Location of proposed sale of commercial property to John Anaya and associates: satellite imagery by Google in accordance with Terms of Service; overlay by Mountainair Dispatch.

John Anaya, Frank’s son, was the person responsible for this proposed purchase being placed on the Mountainair Town Council’s agenda. Frank Anaya explained that the proposed purchase would be done by John Anaya along with three investors from Albuquerque. Nieto proposed that the town council agree to consider Frank Anaya’s proposal if he and his son John can show that they have funding available for the purchase of the property and a business plan showing that the property will be actively used for bringing in revenue, rather than being set aside as an investment for resale down the road.  The town council voted unanimously to consider the Anaya proposal in the event the Anayas met those standards.

The Sale of Two Fire Department Vehicles

Speaking on behalf of Mountainair Fire and Rescue, Josh Lewis proposed lowering the minimum bid on the rescue unit being sold by the fire department. Lewis stated that the fire department wanted to lower the minimum bid on this truck from $8,000 to $5,000. The town council unanimously approved this measure.

Again speaking on behalf of Mountainair Fire and Rescue, Lewis explained that they were also selling a 1985 pumper truck with a 2,900 gallon tank, albeit one that leaks (such that water could not be left in the truck overnight). Lewis advised the town council that Chief Phillip Nelson wanted the starting bid for the pumper truck to be $8,000.  The town council voted to table this proposal.

Reinvestment of Town Funds Currently Held in Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

Councilor Ernie Lopez continued talks regarding investing $200,000 of town funds from previous meetings. In previous meetings, Lopez had suggested utilizing an annuity with New York Life Insurance. The town council tabled this proposal. In the May 16, 2023 meeting, Lopez suggested going with a money market fund account held with United Business Bank at an interest rate of 4.1%.  Councilor Richard Torres seconded Lopez’s proposal, and the town council voted to approve it in a 3 to 1 vote, with Councilor Dustin Kayser voting against the proposal.

Proposal to Purchase Cold Mix Asphalt from Mountain States

Mayor Nieto brought forth a proposal to the town council to purchase cold mix asphalt from Mountain States Asphalt through the Cooperative Education Services (CES) purchasing cooperative. Through this alternative to the stateewide price agreement, Nieto said, the town was quoted a purchase price that offered a higher quality of asphalt than it would have received under the statewide price agreement. Mayor Pro-Tem Gayle Jones made a motion to accept this proposal, which the town council did unanimously.

Resolution 2023-12: Amending the Retention and Disposition Schedules for Motor Vehicle Division Records

Town Clerk Fulfer requested an amendment to the public records retention schedule for Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) records. Under the current system, MVD records are held for three years from the date of issuance. Per proposed resolution 2023-12, that period of MVD record retention would be shortened to one year. Resolution 2023-12 passed unanimously.

Lodgers Tax Board Recommendation for Use of Lodgers Tax Funds

Mountainair Lodgers Tax Board President Kevin Turner proposed to the town council that the lodgers tax funds - $2,500 - be given to the Manzano Mountain Arts Council for the purposes of advertising for the Sunflower Festival. The town council unanimously passed a measure accepting the Lodgers Tax Board recommendation.

Resolution 2023-13: Estancia Valley Solid Waste Authority (EVSWA) Loan Agreement and Intercept Agreement

Town Clerk Fulfer proposed that the town council adopt Resolution 2023-13, which would approve EVSWA entering into a loan agreement and an intercept agreement to fund the purchase of solid waste disposal equipment. Councilor Lopez made motion to approve Resolution 2023-13, which was seconded by Councilor Torres and unanimously adopted by the town council.

Comment on the Town Council Working Well Together, Protection of Gas Meters, and Public Works

During the public comment period of the town council meeting, Jesse Torres complemented the town council on how well it was working together. In earlier jokes by Councilor Lopez and Mayor Nieto, Torres’ complement was reinforced, as the two commented on their (mock) surprise on sharing the same view regarding the purchase of municipal property.

Former Mountainair Mayor Juanita Carrillo expressed concern that some alleys will be too narrow for the new fire truck to pass without damaging property. This led to a discussion placing guardrails around gas meters in the alleys so that vehicles do not strike them.

During the town council comment period, Mayor Pro-Tem Jones shared concerns regarding the fact that the town’s Public Works Department had not been wearing its uniforms in accordance with town personnel policies. Mayor Nieto and the town councilors discussed the possibility of purchasing uniform shirts, uniform overalls, and/or uniform safety toe boots for the Public Works Department.

The meeting closed with the mayor’s comment period, during which Nieto expressed dismay that the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) had disapproved of the town’s proposed welcome sign on the west side of town along I-60.  Nieto also said that the town had two candidates for the police force in the process of going through background checks. Finally, Mayor Nieto advised the town council that the application process for the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) would begin on May 17, 2023. Because NMDOT disapproved the welcome sign, however, the YCC would have to work on a different project than was initially planned.

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