Wednesday marked the return to in-person town hall meetings in Edgewood. An audibly large crowd gathered to voice its concerns about town matters.
Many came to hear word of the decision made by the council regarding the voting style for the upcoming November election, but the council said nothing about it. At issue is whether voters will elect commissioners in Edgewood at large, or by district.
Even Mayor Pro Tem John Abrams, who said at the June 23 council meeting that he would hear an opinion back from the Attorney General regarding voting style if he had to “go sit on his front porch,” remained silent on the matter.
In the November election, 5 commissioners will be elected either at-large or by districts. Many Edgewood voters have publicly voiced their preference for the at-large format, though no official public hearing was held on the matter. The deadline for the council to make a decision regarding voting style was July 5.
During moments of public comment, several Edgewood residents expressed frustration at the lack of acknowledgement that the deadline had come and gone.
Public commenters mentioned that any campaigning that would be done for those five commissioner positions would be enhanced by knowledge of how residents would be voting, but still, the topic was not mentioned by the council.
President of the Estancia Valley Classical Academy’s governing board, Harlan Lawson, appeared at the meeting to discuss the issuance of bonds to EVCA for expansion. Plans for expansion include increasing the square footage for classrooms by adding roughly 13,000 square feet to the facility, Lawson said.
He said this year marks the first year that the EVCA has had over 600 students enrolled. And though the facility was approved to hold up to 780 students, that number would put more than 30 students in some classes, said Lawson.
An additional parking lot would be constructed south of the facility, creating not only more parking space for staff and students, said Lawson, but also another drop-off and pick-up point for parents. This would improve traffic on N.M. 344 before and after school, said Lawson.
The school would also be constructing a multipurpose room which would house programs like drama and music, thus reducing the “wear and tear” on the gymnasium floor, said Lawson.
Additionally, EVCA would be adding some facilities to the community living classroom—like cooking space and laundry capabilities—to more effectively teach some of the school’s special needs students “how to better take care of themselves and survive on their own once they leave school,” said Lawson.
A motion to issue those bonds passed unanimously.
In other business, a resolution was passed to award a $49,063 contract to B&R Construction for improvements to the pavilion at Venus Park. These improvements will include installing rolling bay doors on either side of the pavilion, as well as constructing a concrete slab under the building.
Councilor Audrey Jaramillo announced to the council earlier this year that the New Mexico State Legislature had awarded the Town of Edgewood $50,000 for youth and community programs. Discussion and action on how to best allocate that funding was tabled until the next budget meeting so that residents could offer their opinions and suggestions on projects.
The council agreed to hire Jared Modgling as an Edgewood police officer, and Dominic Romero as maintenance worker.
Four meeting attendees announced their intention to run for commissioner of their respective districts: Kenneth Brennan plans to run in District 1, Jerry Powers in District 2, and Phil Anaya and Sterling Donner in District 5. Ralph Hill has also thrown his hat in the ring for District 1.
The official date for candidates to declare their intention to run for office with the Secretary of State is Aug. 24.
The marathon four-hour meeting concluded with announcements about local goings-on. The next budget workshop will take place at 9 a.m. on July 20; the next regular council meeting was rescheduled for July 23 at 6:30 p.m.
A Party at the Park is scheduled for July 31, at Venus Park from 3 to 10 p.m. The party will feature food trucks and fireworks, as well as face painting and an obstacle course for the kids. A musical performance by Austin Van will take place under the pavilion from 8 to 10 p.m.
The Edgewood Police Department will also be hosting a Water Play Day on Aug. 7, from 1 to 4 p.m., also at Venus Park, and free to the public. For more information, find EPD on Facebook.