In its seventh meeting in a month, Edgewood’s new commission continued its push for changes, hires and new initiatives this week.
It also considered pending litigation, establishment of new committees, and computer security—along with appointment of some familiar faces—in a three-and-a-half hour long meeting.
A few sparks flew when former town councilor Chuck Ring asked the commission who would have to pay for it if a recall petition were mounted to remove them during public comment. That was followed by an eruption from Ralph Hill, who ran for commission in one of two contested seats.
Mayor Audrey Jaramillo said she “no longer feels the need to recuse” herself from discussing pending litigation against the town, and suggested combining two closed sessions into one because of that.
During the last year of the previous administration, lawsuits flew, in a complex and interrelated set of legal actions, some brought by some members of the governing body, including Jaramillo, against the town.
Mayor pro tem Jerry Powers said he had abandoned his claim in another of those lawsuits, adding that he was also in favor of combining the two closed sessions. The commission voted unanimously to to so.
As the meeting proceeded, members took turns talking about what they are working on.
Jaramillo said she put the brakes on a project to codify the town’s ordinances and resolutions. She said until the commission goes through every resolution and ordinance, it won’t be able to decide if it wants to complete the contract, which she said the town can’t get a copy of from its former law firm.
Powers talked about the town’s computer security, following a massive security breach in Bernalillo County, which fell victim to a ransomware attack this month. He said backup of the town’s data is nearly done and said the town’s website is being updated to “be proactive, not just hit the lowest bar” for public input, public outrach and transparency.
Powers is also working on a Purple Heart ceremony for the town, which will be in conjunction with a ribbon cutting for a new flagpole or set of flagpoles for the town offices.
Powers said the town’s leases on Sections 32 and 34 have expired, and he is looking into renewing them. The town leases the sections from the Bureau of Land Management, or BLM, for open space.
He said that about $1 million in repoars on the town’s sewer plant are starting, and said commissioners will be able to tour the plant as soon as it can be arranged.
Commissioner Phil Anaya said he is working with the Moriarty-Edgewood School District, from which the town leases space in the old Edgewood Elementary School building for its municipal offices, town hall and library. Anaya said lighting outside was needed, along with other repairs, for the safety of the public.
Commissioner Ken Brennan is working on getting two flagpoles, or possibly one larger one, outside the main entrance to the town offices. A commercial-grade pole that can withstand winds up to 100 miles per hour is about $1,500 to $2,000 apiece, he said.
Commissioner Sterling Donner is working on creation of an Economic Development Committee ordinance. The committee would work to bring business to Edgewood, but would not duplicate work done by EVEDA, the Estancia Valley Economic Development Association, of which Edgewood is a member.
The commission went into closed session for about half an hour before reconvening. It took no action on the items discussed in closed session.
Other items of interest include the hiring of former mayor and town councilor Brad Hill as the town’s planning and zoning administrator. “It’s nice to be back in the town of Edgewood serving this community,” Hill said.
Town manager Kay Davis—whom Hill hired to fill a similar position under his tenure as mayor—made the hire. She said three positions in maintenance and custodial services are being advertised internally before being posted more widely.
Davis said the town sewer’s discharge permit was renewed by the state Environment Department for five years, but said she didn’t know any details when Jaramillo asked about it.
The commission also appointed Susan Simons, Celia Cook, Glory Jampetero and Edgewood’s former animal control officer, Mike Ring, to its Animal Control Advisory Board.
Starting in February, the commission is changing its meetings to the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 6:30 p.m.