MAY 23, 2006

 Commissioners Butler, Evans, McCamley, and Saldaņa-Caviness were present, Commissioner Curry was absent.

 During public input Dr. Earl Nissen presented a letter with questions about the recent state audit that he felt had not been adequately addressed by the county.  He also mentioned that numerous other audits throughout the state had never been followed up on.  County Attorney John Caldwell responded that it was not up to the Commission to follow-up with any legal action, but rather the District Attorney.

 Don Jonkers talked about Las Vegas' water conservation program and asked that we establish a citizens' group to pursue the issue.  Karen Pettes said that we really need to work with EBID since they are 90% of water usage.

 As part of the Community Recognition program Commission Chair Dolores Saldaņa-Caviness recognized the Underage Drinking Prevention Coalition for its effort and successes.  Drinking related deaths in the county were down 70% last year.

 Ray Stewart of the NM Department of Health made a presentation on their services and activities.  They currently have 10 positions unfilled in Doņa Ana County, partly because of competition from El Paso.  A discussion ensued with Commissioners looking for specific steps the State might take to improve services in the County.

 Fire Marshal Paul Chavez made a presentation on planning for possible pandemic flu in the county.

 Due to travel, this observer missed the last part of this meeting as well as the following meeting.  However I feel the following opinions are in order.  This was the first meeting in the County's new facilities.  While these facilities may save money in the long run because of reduced maintenance and operating costs, of equal importance is the new Commission Chambers.  There is finally room to accommodate all of us who care to participate in the meetings.  Furthermore the audio-visual facilities make it easy to hear and see the proceedings.  Besides the official decision-making by the commissioners, there are often presentations made by experts on issues of concern to us all, and these are now easily seen and heard by everyone.  It may be very rewarding for you to attend one of these meetings and see your county government in action.  And not only is there now room for you in the chambers, there's also room for your car in the parking lot!

Charlie Welch

Southern NM Common Cause