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by Billy Donati, KRTN
RATON — The Raton City Commission heard good reports on water storage and good news on gross receipts taxes at the regular commission meeting on March 27.
All were present to hear commissioner Ron Chavez report that both Lake Maloya and Eagle Nest Lake storage for the city were near 100 percent capacity.
In city treasurer Michael Anne Antonucci’s report, she relayed a 5% increase in gross receipts collections in the amount originally budgeted for March.  The good news may be offset, though by the fact that the city’s Small Cities Assistance check received was about $68,000 less than budgeted, which was just under $132,000.  Antonucci reported that other cities receiving the assistance also reported less than anticipated totals.
In his report, city manager Scott Berry reported that in addition to the good news about the near capacity water storage situation, the dry winter weather has had other positive effects.  Even though fire danger is extremely high, Berry said the usual costs of snow removal have not been felt this winter and the dry weather has also helped the pothole situation throughout the town.  Also on roads, Berry noted the long-awaited Hospital Drive project is getting ready to go to bid.  The expected timeline is bid openings at the end of May, bid award at the June 12 commission meeting, construction starting in July, and ending in October with complete removal of “the dip” as one of the construction goals.
Berry also said he and Dan Campbell of Raton Water Works will go to the Dam Safety Bureau meeting on April 2 and that the Lake Maloya dam and spillway remain a “high priority”.
Berry also commended public works employees, Leonard Zamora and Henry Whatley for their efforts on many projects for the city-owned buildings.  He also noted that there have been concerned citizens calling city hall about illegal dumping and the Raton Police have responded and cited several people for illegal dumping.
Commissioner Don Giacomo reported that the Library Launchpad program to help business entrepreneurship, had six libraries in the state eligible with the Arthur Johnson being one of them.  Of the 55 applicants, 12 were approved and four of them came from Raton.
In action items, the commission approved Raton MainStreets closure on First Street for the Cinco De Mayo celebration which will take place from Cook to Park Avenue on First Street from 10 am to 6 pm.
Raton MainStreet was also awarded $8,000 in Lodgers Tax funds for advertising the Gate City Music Festival.  Since the first Gate City Festival four years ago, the requested amount has been going down steadily and Diana Sanchez reported that the group “Restless Heart” would be the headliner at the Shuler on the Labor Day Sunday night.
The commission also approved the Lodger’s tax board recommendation for $3,000 for advertising for LMNOC Broadcasting, and approved $500 for advertising for High Altitude Vitae Fitness and their upcoming Bench Press (Power Lifting) competition in Raton at the Aquatic Center on Saturday, April 14.  Berry also advised that a commissioner should think about attending the Lodgers Tax Board Meetings as all other advisory boards and commissions have a commissioner assigned to them.
The commission also is trying to reinstitute the ETZ board and appointed Randy Madison and Jason Bennett to fill the city’s open positions.
The other action items were bookkeeping and entailed approval of the 2018 financial report which showed the city had a general fund balance of $2,022,583.75, some line item transfers and a resolution to change a signature card on a CD at FNB of NM.  All passed unanimously.
City offices will be closed on March 30 in observance of Good Friday.  A proclamation for Comcast Cares Day was read by Mayor Neil Segotta which is April 21 and will concentrate on cleaning up and getting Raton baseball and softball fields ready for the summer.
The “You Rock Award” was given to the citizens helping with the Coal Camp Community Kitchen.  The dream is almost realized and is waiting for one more piece of equipment to be installed and then should be fully functional
The next meeting is slated for Tuesday, April 10 at 6 pm and will be broadcast on KRTN AM 1490.

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