By Marty Mayfield
Raton City Commissioners met on Tuesday August 22, 2023 for their second regular meeting of the month taking care of purchases for equipment and planning for new projects.
Ken Chapin informed the commission about a Smithsonian project in Trinidad and wanting to bring it to Raton and the surrounding area. That area will include Huerfano, Las Animas and Colfax counties. The project will cover historical stories from the community. The companion exhibit will begin on December 1 and run into January.
Commissioners heard from Patricia Duran who presented the Explore Raton numbers for the last six months. Explore Raton’s Google Ads received $128,000 for last year. Explore Raton’s social media accounts are seeing a big increase in traffic. Duran noted there are a lot of people looking at relocation and the google ads feature Raton as an affordable place to live. Explore Raton’s Facebook page is seeing 1000 or more visits a day.
Commissioners appointed Tim Curry to the Planning and Zoning Board. Curry comes to the city with experience in the construction industry.
The Center for Community Innovation is back before the commission asking for $40,000 for Google Ads and media management Funds will come from the Explore Raton Management Fund and the Media Management fund. The money will be allocated to help manage $120,000 in google ads, Advertising sales for the visitors guide and social media ads. It will also help with funding for the NM Youth and Youth Adult internship programs which will fund six to nine interns for 200-600 hours of work each.
Commissioners approved the purchase of a tractor and mower from US Tractor and Harvest utilizing the NM NASPO price agreement. The cost of the equipment is $169,965 with NM State Aviation covering 90% of the costs.
Commissioners approved the July 2023 Financial Report which continues to see an increase in GRT which is 1.54% above budget. The General Fund has a total cash available balance of $5,217,692. (Link to July 2023 Financial Report)
Commissioners approved the transfer of a 2004 Chevy Tahoe to Raton Public Service. The vehicle was originally purchased through the fire dept with fire funds. When the vehicle is finally sold the funds will need to go back to the Fire Funds noted City Treasurer Michael Anne Antonucci.
Commissioners also approved the application to NM MainStreet for funding from their Capital Outlay Program to begin work on the renovation on the railroad depot for $1,000,000 with a city match of $250,000. Amtrak will be funding the renovation of the ramp area.
Commissioners heard about a cost proposal for the Civic Plaza Project. The state legislature approved $25,000 last year for the project after the city asked for over $100,000. The proposal is for $25,023 and will cover only the design work for the project.
Commissioners approved creating the grant application for a Recreation and Quality of Life grant from DFA which has set a very quick turnaround time. The application will ask for funding to improve the area around the Iridium layer on the old pass road, a dog park at the visitor’s center, Romero Park tennis courts, an amphitheater, and work at Gabrielle Field.
Commissioners approved a task order change for the final design, plans and specs for the Railroad Depot Project. Total for the work is $115,000 for design work to develop the plan for the depot renovation. If the Mainstreet funding comes through the city will go ahead with construction on the project.
Commissioners approved the grant application for the reconstruction of taxiway B design phase. The FAA will cover 90% of the design costs which is $109,934. The remaining 10% will come from matching funds from the state aviation and the City of Raton. The cost of the reconstruction project will be over $2,000,000.
City Manager Scott Berry noted that the NM Game Commission will meet on August 25, 2023, beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the Raton City Commission Chambers. The engineer will look at the Coors building and the community building to improve drainage which was the cause of the foundation damage. The Sugarite Ave project is continuing with the road improvements and paving restoration work which will cause street closures. The solar project has seen electric production over the last 14 days.
The next City Commission Meeting will be on September 12, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. in the commission chambers and there could be a quorum of Raton City Commissioners at the 66th Annual New Mexico Municipal League Conference August 29 through September 1, 2023 in Farmington.