Town Council Addresses Speeding and Special Funding, Mayor Seeks to Dispel Rumors Regarding Police Chief

Town Council Addresses Speeding and Special Funding, Mayor Seeks to Dispel Rumors Regarding Police Chief

The March 19, 2024, Mountainair Town Council meeting began with a discussion of a change to how the town will be doing department reports (moving from a bi-monthly to monthly basis) and the recent flooding by the Mountainair Assembly Of God Church (this will be addressed in detail in a future article.)

Funding for Purchase of Gustin's Hardware

Following the discussion, the Mountainair Town Council passed Resolution 2024-11, authorizing the town to manage a special fund on behalf of the New Mexico Economic Development Department so that Sanchez Farms could purchase Gustin’s Hardware Store. The resolution also authorized the use of an enterprise fund for the management of the Mountainair Sunflower Festival, which, Mayor Peter Nieto explained, was being taken over by the town from its previous managers, the Manzano Mountain Arts Council. The council unanimously approved Resolution 2024-11. Mayor Nieto commented on the resolution that, “I think it’s very awesome that Sanchez Farms chose the Town of Mountainair being that they’re actually out of Estancia for [Mountainair] to be the fiscal agent.”

Speeding and Installation of Speedbumps

Mayor pro tem Gayle Jones explained to the council and the mayor that she had been approached by residents of Mountainair that they were experiencing problems with drivers speeding between Beale Street and Acoma Street. Mayor Peter Nieto mused that the town ought to pass a standing ordinance to place speedbumps through all of the town's key intersections due to the prevalence of speeders. He continued, stating that he believed that speedbumps worked because they did not make a big difference to those traveling at the speed limit but did significantly impact those who were speeding.

The town council discussed other locations in Mountainair where speeders were active and whether placing speed cameras at intersections would solve the problem. However, the council did not stick with this idea due to the legal challenges and cost of using speed cameras. Jones made a motion to place speedbumps on North Cedardale Avenue, north of Beal Street, which was seconded by Councilmember Richard Torres and unanimously voted for by the town council.

Natural Gas Prices

The council next addressed locking in natural gas purchase prices. While the council did not take formal action on this matter, Nieto suggested that the council wait until the rates for natural gas drop to below $5.40/mmBTU, then lock in rates for a four-month or six-month period. (The town's rates are typically based on prices set in the El Paso-San Juan Basin Market, also known as the San Juan Index.) When the rates are above $5.40/mmBTU, Nieto suggested the town council hold off locking in rates for two weeks and then revisit the issue.

Motorcycle Awareness Month

The final issue before the town council was designating May as "Motorcycle Awareness Month." This designation would not incorporate any substantive changes to town regulations other than creating online content advising auto motorists to be mindful of motorcyclists. This motion was passed unanimously.

Mountainair's Incoming Police Chief

During the comment period, Mayor Nieto addressed a rumor he had heard about the incoming chief of police. Specifically, Nieto explained, the rumor was that the police chief the town selected was no longer coming to Mountainair. Nieto said the rumor was inaccurate and that Jimmy Macon, whom the town had selected as its next police chief, would be arriving soon.

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