In unofficial results from a special election Tijeras held Tuesday, starting in 2018 its village council will be comprised of four seats rather than its current five.

With 59 villagers casting a vote, 38 of them voted in favor of a four-person council, and 21 voted in favor of a six-person council. Because those council members already elected will get to finish out their terms, that means that the number won’t change until the 2018 election, when one fewer seat will come up for grabs.

In other news, at its Monday meeting Tijeras awarded a bid for the next phase of its water system, and with $1.1 million to spend, accepted a bid of $736,876 plus tax.

Seven contractors bid on the project with a range from $683,990 to $920,200; the engineer’s estimated cost was $1.08 million.

The extension will run from Melissa Lane to Rincón Loop, making the village water system available to about 55 additional households, according to village clerk Shannon Fresquez.

The village council overrode the mayor when it voted unanimously not to segregate bookkeeping duties between clerk/treasurer and deputy clerk, electing instead to do without the deputy clerk position.

An agenda item setting the salaries of clerk/treasurer and deputy clerk was stricken after the deputy clerk position was not approved said that there would be a total savings of $27,937 by arranging the work that way. Councilor Maxine Wilson said, “I was adding the numbers up and we would save $45,000 by eliminating the deputy clerk.”

“I have a problem breaking up bookkeeping,” Councilor Don Johnson said, adding that it is a “sensitive job.”

“It is going to be mandatory,” Mayor Gloria Chavez countered.

“I’d rather wait ’til that’s suggested by the auditor,” Johnson said.

Councilor Jake Bruton said for most of the time he has served on the council the village hasn’t had a clerk or deputy clerk. “What about eliminating deputy clerk?” he asked. “I don’t see the village suffering.”

“No, you have to have a deputy clerk,” Chavez said.

“Mountainair doesn’t have a deputy clerk,” Maxine Wilson said.

“For the record, I agree with Councilor Bruton,” said Councilor David Wilson, Maxine Wilson’s husband.

Maxine Wilson said that GAAP guidelines, or “generally accepted accounting principles indicate that clerk and bookkeeper shouldn’t be intermingling.”

Maxine Wilson then made a motion to deny the request to segregate bookkeeping duties, to have only clerk and bookkeeper, and not fill the deputy clerk position. Bruton seconded the motion, which passed unanimously, despite Chavez’ objection that the acting deputy clerk would have to say in writing that she doesn’t want to be deputy clerk any longer.

The council also authorized emergency repairs to a booster station in its water system for about $15,000. The booster had some electrical circuits “fried,” according to Molzen Corbin engineer Kevin Eades, who said for a few years village workers have been limping the system along by operating it manually.

Leota Harriman
Leota Harriman

Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at news.ind.editor@gmail.com.