A long-sought-after resolution specifying the way commissioners will be elected to the five districts in Edgewood almost passed at last week’s rescheduled town council meeting.
The previously undetermined election style has been in dispute for months. Would the town elect the commissioners at large, or by districts?
At the council meeting July 23, Councilor Sherry Abraham had intended to submit the final version of a resolution she’d drafted and redrafted for the council to vote on.
However, as discussion of the vote arose, it became clear that the original version of the resolution Abraham had written—which the council had previously decided needed rewording—was mistakenly attached to the agenda items sent to Town Clerk Juan Torres, making a vote moot.
Abraham apologized to the council for the mistake, saying, “I sent the wrong one. I attached the wrong file.”
This apology, however, came after she told the council, “This may not be the copy that I sent to Juan.”
She then addressed Torres: “This is not what I presented to you… or included on tonight’s agenda.”
Torres later expressed frustration at the idea he had somehow mishandled Abraham’s submission. In a rare statement from the clerk regarding the perceived attack on his character, he said, “I won’t try to do something malicious. I follow my chain of command and the rules that are set forth by our government.”
Both Abraham and Councilor Audrey Jaramillo expressed a desire to push forward with the resolution by amending the copy in hand, but Councilor Linda Holle said doing so has caused issues in the past. “My opinion is that we have word-smithed on the fly before and it’s gotten us into trouble, and I really hesitate to do that again,” she said.
A special session was scheduled July 29 to revisit the amended resolution, and to presumably end the discussion about how Edgewood will elect its commissioners in November.
In other business, both councilors and meeting attendees mentioned concern about the town’s wastewater treatment plant.
Abraham has repeatedly asked for regular communications from the operators of the plant. She again asked what next steps should be taken now that the storage well at the facility was at capacity.
Mayor Pro Tem John Abrams said there is a second well that could be expanded and used. Torres said that permits are currently pending for such expansion.
Old plans for a soccer complex on 40 acres near the wastewater facility were discussed again. The original idea was to locate the fields near a water source, but meeting attendees were concerned about using wastewater effluent on fields intended for children to play on.
The council further discussed the town’s possible purchase of land on Bassett Road. According to Abrams, plans have existed for an additional entry and exit ramp to be built on Interstate 40 in Edgewood—possibly at Bassett Road—since 1999.
A new point of entry into town at such a location would make the land at 120 Bassett Road an ideal spot for commercial development, Abrams said.
According to the property’s listing agent, the 253-acre property is owned by a group of investors in Arizona, and the property is listed for sale at $253,780.
Though the majority of public commenters agreed that an injection of commercial activity would be beneficial for Edgewood, they were also vocal about not wanting the town to spearhead such a development.
Speakers echoed the sentiment that a town with such a divided governing body would not result in the best use of the opportunity. Several mentioned their desire to support or recruit an entrepreneur to take charge of such a project.
Perhaps the most startling moment of the council meeting came about 45 minutes into the session. Abraham made a motion to remove all past meeting minutes from the consent agenda—regular items such as minutes that are usually passed as a bundle—for separate discussion and approval of each item individually.
Holle disagreed, saying, “I vote nay. This is getting ridiculous. We’ve got so many meeting minutes that need to be reviewed and approved.”
Abrams agreed, to which Abraham responded, “Well you should agree to take them out of the agenda so we can discuss them separately.”
“We can’t in good conscience approve [all the meeting minutes],” Jaramillo said. “If anyone is holding up town business, it’s you two,” she said, directing her statement at Holle and Abrams.
Once Abraham’s motion to remove all meeting minutes from the consent agenda died for lack of a majority, along the now-familiar 2-2 split of the council’s vote, the gallery lit up with applause.
At this, Abrams banged his gavel repeatedly, shouting, “That’s enough! Really… This is our council meeting.”
Cries of “This is our town!” were heard from the public in response. This uproar prompted Jaramillo to walk out of the meeting. Abraham shortly followed suit.
Minutes later, upon her return, Abraham asked the audience to “quietly support us if you please. Let’s get the business done and be as friendly as possible.” Jaramillo returned to the meeting after about 10 minutes.
The meeting concluded with discussion of upcoming events in Edgewood. The Party at the Park is happening this weekend at Venus Park on Saturday, July 31, from 3 to 10 p.m. The event will feature live music, vendors, and handmade clothing and craft items.
There will also be a Battle of the Badges featuring members of the Edgewood Police Department, as well as officers from the Torrance County Sheriff’s Department and Santa Fe County Fire and EMS. Fireworks are scheduled at 9 p.m., live music by Austin Van from 8 to 10 p.m.
On August 7, from 1 to 4 p.m., a free Water Fun Day will be held at Venus Park. This event will feature a mud pit, water slides and balloons, and free food, and is open to the public.
Meanwhile, the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission met July 27. They quickly held two public hearings on subdivision of privately owned tracts of land. Both applications were approved unanimously.
The commission also discussed municipal regulations to be drafted now that recreational marijuana is legal in New Mexico.
Regulations are needed regarding distance of dispensaries from schools and daycares, as well as density of shops allowed in a particular area, said P&Z administrator Tawnya Mortensen.
Mortensen and the commission agreed it would be wise to research other municipalities of a similar size to Edgewood that have already enacted such regulations.