Increases the amount it pays for solid waste

By Leota Harriman

Moriarty held over a public hearing on implementing a more restrictive animal control ordinance, and gave N.M. Waste Services a 3.8 percent increase for hauling the city’s trash.

Both actions occurred without a lot of discussion or public input, and both actions deferred part of the city council’s actions.

The animal control ordinance was “continued” to the meeting of Sept. 23, while the second half of the solid waste price increase—whether that cost will be borne by Moriarty residents—will be heard at a special meeting Sept. 15 as The Independent went to press.

City attorney Adolfo Mendez explained that the updated draft of the animal control ordinance would increase permits needed to own animals in the city, and give some “teeth” to the city to go after people for animal neglect or cruelty, as Councilor Kim Garcia put it.

Mendez said the ordinance, if approved, would bring the city’s ordinance into line with the state statute, and pulls language from the city’s existing ordinances, which also mirror the statute.

Cruelty to animals can be a full misdemeanor,” Mendez explained, adding, “It’s pretty significant and it can be a felony if it’s intentional.”

He said the new ordinance would add more types of permits, and allow the city’s new animal control officer “to better regulate animals in the city.”

It includes a provision for microchipping, grandfathering in existing animals but would be required for “new dogs and new cats,” Mendez said.

The ordinance would change the law regarding tethering of dogs, allowing for tethering “by trolley but not by stake,” Mendez said. “There are lots of instances, and recently, where dogs have been pretty hurt by being tethered,” he said.

Councilor Dennis Shanfeldt made a few suggestions for minor edits, which were agreed to by his fellow councilors. He suggested that language saying that the mayor would have to authorize any adoption event be changed to give that authority to the animal control officer.

Police Chief Bobby Garcia said he thought he as the animal control officer’s supervisor should have that authority, but Shanfeldt said that authority is implicit because the chief is the supervisor of the animal control officer.

I think they are all changes that will better our community,” said Councilor Kim Garcia.

It will simplify things for the city and the person who has a dog,” Shanfeldt added.

Shandeldt suggested continuing the public hearing until the Sept. 23 meeting to allow for more public input before making a vote. Councilor Steve Anaya said he wasn’t ready to vote on the ordinance, having sent it to a few people for their opinions.

Later in the meeting, Mayor Ted Hart said that N.M. Waste Services had asked the city for a 4.7 percent increase in the amount of his contract for trash hauling in the city limits. Hart said N.M. Waste had not asked for a cost of living increase for the past two years, and said city staff had calculated that amount at 3.8 percent. “I would like to see council grant a 3.8 [percent increase], which was the cost of living for the last two years,” Hart said.

Shanfeldt asked whether that increase would be retroactive for those two years, but Hart said the increase would be starting now.

That means that city residents will see their bills go up from $11.46 a month to $11.90, said city clerk Sheila Murphy.

But Hart then said that whether or not the increase in the cost of the contract would be passed along to city residents would be decided at a special meeting Sept. 15.

It’s a good deal for us,” said Councilor Bobby Ortiz. “He came off the 4.7 or whatever.” He made a motion to approve the increase, which passed unanimously.

It was not clear from the discussion whether N.M. Waste might be seeking an additional increase to the tipping fee, or the amount it pays to the Estancia Valley Solid Waste Authority, in addition to the 3.8 percent.