Although Edgewood’s town council continues to have a 2-2 deadlock on most issues, it took action on districting, codifying all town ordinances and resolutions, and its budget.
The council again stalemated on approval of its consent agenda, now languishing for months as the four councilors are unable to break the tie. But it also voted unanimously on some items at its April 14 meeting.
A second presentation by Michael Sharp of Research & Polling Inc. on the districting of Edgewood added population data to the the three proposed plans at a special meeting last week.
In each iteration of the districting proposals, the ideal population is within the plus or minus 5% that Sharp said is the goal.
According to Sharp’s data, which is reliant on the 2010 Census, Edgewood’s districts would have an ideal population of around 1,200. The three plans proposed by Research & Polling each vary from that number to varying degrees, with Plan A being closest to the ideal.
All three fall within plus or minus 5%.
Three of the four members of the governing body expressed a preference for Plan A, with a few suggested changes to consolidate neighborhoods.
Mayor Pro Tem John Abrams said Plan A follows logical borders and does not spread any district across Interstate 40. Abrams suggested that, at the town council meeting on April 28, councilors could vote on their preferred districting plan.
The plan is just one step in the process of Edgewood’s transition from a mayor-council form of government to commission-manager, approved by voters last year. The first election of commissioners is due in November 2021.
As the council transitions into a commissioner-manager style of government, the question of how those commissioners will be elected remains pertinent.
Councilors are currently elected at large, with those garnering the most votes being seated, and the town is not currently districted.
The commission-manager format requires districts, but whether commissioners would be elected at large or by district is one of the questions to be decided by the current governing body.
Sharp also incorporated the locations of where the current governing body lives; those locations were distributed throughout the proposed districts in every case, except for councilors Sherry Abraham and Linda Holle, who live near to each other, and were in the same district in every iteration.
The agenda item was a public hearing—but the public in attendance by phone had very little to say about any of the three proposals.
A third hearing on the proposals—and a vote—will be on the agenda for the town’s April 28 meeting. Town residents wishing to weigh in on the proposal are encouraged to contact the town at 505-286-4518 or by emailing the town clerk or a member of the governing body. That contact information can be found at edgewood-nm.gov, as can the presentation by Research & Polling.
No matter which plan is chosen, Sharp told councilors last week that the town will have to redistrict in 2022.
In other business, the council voted unanimously to codify all of Edgewood’s ordinances and resolutions, creating a database that would be easily searchable, and which would allow the council to update ordinances simultaneously, said town clerk Juan Torres.
The process is budgeted to cost $16,000 in a contract with Code Publishing, and could take up to six months.
According to town Torres, the database would enable people to effectively search for issues of concern by using keywords. For instance, a search for “animal control” would bring up all references to ordinances referring to animals. The same would be true for issues including subdivisions, developments and roads, he said.
The codification of these ordinances and resolutions would also erase the need to keep up with a large book that would need constant revisions, removals, and additions, said Torres.
He also mentioned the benefit of having easy access to ordinances and resolutions as the new commissioner-manager government is implemented. With the information in a searchable database, powers and authorities for commissioners would be readily retrievable, he said.
Councilor Audrey Jaramillo expressed concern for ensuring the preservation of historic Edgewood documents during the codifying process.
Abrams said the town is required by law to keep all versions of its legislation.
The council also voted to increase funding to the library, maintenance and road departments.
The largest budgetary increase was for an additional $403,505 to go toward equipment and machinery for the roads department.
As requested by department supervisor Charles Williams in March, the money will purchase equipment like a loader, trencher, snow plow, and a large-capacity excavator.
The library department will receive $59,721, the bulk of which will be spent on furniture and fixtures.
The maintenance department will receive $82,493, with the greatest percentage of that money going toward equipment and machinery.
Holle mentioned upcoming town events, including a One-Day, One-Bag Clean Up Challenge to be held at Venus Park (181 NM 344) on April 24 starting at 8 a.m.
The town will provide free community dumpsters, and is challenging residents to participate, with prizes being offered for those who do.
On April 30, there will be a drive-through tree seedling giveaway in honor of Arbor Day sponsored by the town. Beginning at 9 a.m. on a first come, first served basis, residents may drive by town hall at 171A N.M. 344 and get two tree seedlings while supplies last.
Trees include Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, Chokecherry and Coyote Willow.
Abrams also expressed gratitude to the Edgewood Police Department for its help in coordinating the town’s first vaccination event April 14.
The event was expected to administer 500 doses of the vaccine, but ended up receiving 250 additional doses, and those were distributed as well, Abrams said.