The World Journal has put out a call for candidates running for office in Springer to respond to a series of questions pertaining to their campaigns. So far, Rebecca Ramirez (candidate for town trustee) and Boe Lopez (candidate for mayor) have responded. The following are their answers, with ‘WJ’ indicating the World Journal’s questions, ‘RR’ indicating Ramirez’s answers, and ‘BL’ indicating Lopez’s answers. WJ: As a council/trustee/mayoral candidate, what is your reason for running for office?
RR: As a Trustee candidate, I am running for the seat to continue forward progress in ensuring the Town of Springer has an established infrastructure that encourages future generations of citizens to reside and flourish within our Town in a positive, successful manner. BL: As a Mayoral candidate, I am running for the seat to continue working to seek funding to improve infrastructure for the Town of Springer and to promote community involvement within the Town and its various departments, organizations, and boards. I aspire for Springer’s infrastructure to be brought up to date to support an efficient community where past, current, and future residents want to live, work, and enjoy all that Springer has to offer.
WJ: What are the three most important problems confronting the town? If elected, how would solve those problems?
RR: 1. Fully functioning water plant. This has been an ongoing issue for the Town of Springer, and is in need of funding to purchase the necessary equipment to operate at 100% without constant monitoring. Writing grants, attending legislative sessions, and working with the appropriate agencies would be an established goal in resolving this issue. 2. Bringing the Town of Springer up to date with policies and procedures for future review, and that reflect present day practices. These policies and procedures have been archived in City Hall, and are currently in hard copy only. The continued efforts in creating working documents that will be available to future leaders for revision and amending will be a continued project of mine if elected. Since being appointed by Mayor Garcia in August of 2016, I have created or amended ten policies, four of which resolved audit findings for the Town of Springer. 3. Town of Springer Electrical System. Although this project was just awarded over a million dollar loan for rehabilitation, the start date is projected for the warmer months of 2018. Since we are still in the waiting period, the Town faces maintenance on lines, poles, and transformers that are becoming obsolete in parts. Due to the aging electric system, it is vital that this project, along with the waste water plant is addressed and considered essential to the survival of our community. BL: 1. The Town of Springer’s electrical system is outdated and has had no upgrades in quite some time resulting in worn out insulators, transformers, poles, meters, and primary and secondary lines. Proposed Solution: The Town of Springer is currently entering into a loan agreement to carry out the rehabilitation of the entire system. I will work to ensure that we get a completed project and an energy efficient system that will help address the issues with line loss, worn out poles, correct meters for the dwelling they are metering, and the funding to repay the loan. 2. The Town of Springer’s waste water plant is a system that needs some updates to meet compliance requirements. Proposed Solution: The Town of Springer has been working to seek grants, match funding, and Capital Outlay funding to complete the necessary updates. I have been working with elected officials at the local, state, and national level where we have been successful in obtaining some funding to complete the improvements necessary to meet compliance. I will work with the staff of the Town of Springer to see this project thru to completion. 3. The Town of Springer’s water treatment plant needs improvements to our water monitoring system along with various other components of the plant. Proposed Solution: I along with fellow Trustees and Town of Springer staff will continue to seek funding to make the necessary improvements a reality and to meet the requirements mandated by various agencies.
WJ: How would you, if elected, work for good of all Springer? RR: Serving on the council as an appointed Trustee, I have worked with/for the community in a variety of ways. I have spent countless hours working on updating and creating policies that are essential to the day-to-day operations of the Town. Within this capacity, I have had the opportunity to resolve a handful of audit findings that the Town received in FY 2015-2016, as well as FY 2016-2017. Resolving these findings ensures that the Town of Springer can be its own fiscal agent to administer funds for the Town. Establishing a shelter in place with Red Cross training for travelers during extreme weather conditions and/or emergency situations was a personal project. This shelter was the only available shelter during the winter of 2017 in Colfax County, and incorporated volunteers from Springer, Cimarron, Maxwell and Springer High Schools National Honor Society members. Two policies that I have worked on involved working with committees comprised of constituents of Springer, as well as, Town employees for feedback and involvement of all stakeholders. BL: Serving on the council for six years, two as trustee and four as Mayor Pro-Tem, I have worked with/for all the community in a variety of ways. I was part of the Town Council when the nearly seven million dollars were obtained to combine both reservoirs for the town into a large one. We have since had a completed reservoir project which includes a new discharge pond. I wrote the grant to bring the recycling trailers to Springer so we could reduce the amount of solid waste that we are hauling to the refuse and paying tonnage for and in turn trying to reduce our imprint. Along with the Town of Springer staff, we obtained monies thru a grant and match to put up a game fence around the Springer Airport to encourage air traffic to utilize another resource Springer has to offer. In the six years I have been part of the Town of Springer we have brought almost 10 million dollars to address needs of the Town.
WJ: Town leaders ensure that the towns essential services such as fire, EMS, police, are up to date and functional. How would you help these departments what they need to operate? RR: Working with federal, state and local agencies is pertinent in the daily operations of all emergency services. Monthly reporting is done to ensure Springers agencies are accounted for, and are in compliance with mandates/statutes. These resources are also available in performing “checks-andbalances” of the operations of our Town departments, and are a source of grants, additional training and outsourcing for our trained personnel. Department heads report on a monthly basis to Council, and as a collective, work together to approach concerns and needs of each department. Attending meetings, assisting in grant writing, as well as, recruitment of volunteers are some examples of how one could help in making sure our departments are up to required standards of operation. BL: The departments are all working with county, state, and federal agencies to become or stay in compliance. The survival of theses departments is dependent upon volunteers getting involved and becoming certified. I will work to continue finding funding sources to address the equipment needs of the departments. All departments have undergone some restructuring and I look forward to working with these individuals to build a rapport of strength and unity for the departments in our community.
WJ: What type of leadership does Springer need? RR: Springer needs positive, straight forward, assertive, and transparent leadership that incorporates the needs of all stakeholders. This leadership should be reflective of the people, and should hold themselves to the NM Governmental Code of Conduct for elected officials. Springer needs leaders who support the diverse population it serves, and encourages the economic survival of its local businesses. BL: Springer needs leadership that has integrity, is fair, and exemplifies a positive outlook, while using education and diversity to promote, unify, and further the Town of Springer for past, current, and future generations. WJ: How would you work to strengthen our community? RR: Working to strengthen our community has been my goal since being appointed by Mayor Garcia. Strengthening our community starts at supporting our youth who attend Springer Schools. These students are the future of our community, and providing them with a functioning infrastructure is key in encouraging these students to return back to Springer to eliminate the “brain drain” that small, rural communities encounter. Our strength also lies in our elderly citizens who provided the foundations of our great community through their hard work and dedication. Uniting the community through active involvement in our local government is also pertinent. Attending meetings, volunteering on committees and boards, as well as, local emergency departments is essential to the longevity of the Town and its successes. BL: I would encourage community involvement from youth to adults in our various departments, organizations, and boards. I think we need to support the Corrections Department, Springer Schools, Colfax General Long Term Care, and all other business in the community that support the Town of Springer thru gross receipts tax, lodgers tax, business licenses, and various other bonds and taxes. I would work to continue to fund the Chamber of Commerce through Lodger’s Tax to promote Springer and encourage economic stimulus for our businesses.