AUGUST 22, 2006

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

 The regular meeting was preceded by a special meeting at which the Commission adopted a resolution declaring a disaster in Doņa Ana County due to recent rains.  This declaration is intended to help obtain outside funds to assist residents in need.

 Public input at the regular meeting began with a comment on recent water damage in the county.  Further public input on this issue was postponed until later in the meeting when a formal discussion of water problems was scheduled.

 The Volunteer Recognition segment this month recognized 10 Americorps Vista members who provided needed assistance to county residents during the recent flooding.

 Next the Board proclaimed September as Pain Awareness Month in Doņa Ana County.  This proclamation was not purposely related to recent flooding but rather accompanies a national effort to secure and make sufferers aware of rights to pain remediation.

 Jorge Granados, Public Works Director, and Paul Dugie, Director of the Office of the Flood Commission, talked about damages throughout the County from the recent rains.  Commissioners expressed concern over seemingly inconsiderate development in proximity to arroyos that are benign until the rains come.  Not only is private property at risk but also county roads and other structures.  One interesting aspect of this problem is where the State will build a section of road in the County, a seemingly generous activity, but then ask the county to maintain it.  The Commission is disinclined to accept this type of burden and instructed staff to reject just such a request at this meeting.  Another issue raised by several citizens is damage to private property from water runoff from public lands.

 Lynn Ellins, our new elections supervisor, reported on developments to date concerning the upcoming elections.  We'll be using new machines without the benefit of a prior smaller election to expose potential problems.  He's working on training election workers, stabilizing and publicizing polling locations, and the logistics of getting equipment to the polling sites among other things.

 A quite varied Consent Agenda of 15 items was passed.  One of those items was a revision of the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program Payment Standard to better match local costs.

 A resolution declaring the intent to transfer the Amador Hotel Property to the City of Las Cruces was passed.  County Manager Brian Haines was authorized to negotiate the terms of the transfer.  It was emphasized that the Hotel is a valuable piece of property for which the County could receive needed funds.  However they've chosen to transfer it to the City to preserve its historic value. 

Three resolutions approving cooperative agreements between the County and the NM Dept. of Transportation for the use of program funds for County road improvements were passed.

 Commissioner Saldaņa-Caviness was appointed as a member of the Board of Directors of the South Central Regional Transit District and Commissioner Butler was appointed the Alternate.  Among other modes of transportation they'll be considering light rail.

 The Commission authorized publication of a notice of intent to adopt an ordinance defining policies and procedures for establishing Public Improvement Districts within Dona Ana County.  Such districts will be similar to but allow more variety than Paving Assessment Districts.

Charlie Welch

Southern NM Common Cause