by Bill Knowles
TRINIDAD — After nearly six months operating with an Interim City Manager, the Trinidad City Council, with a 7-0 vote, formally announced Mike Valentine as the finalist for the job of managing the city. The announcement will be officially made through a press release and then posted in papers of record and aired on radio for 14-days before Valentine is appointed.
Faced with a public health emergency, declining revenues because of the health emergency, and a decaying infrastructure requiring constant repairs, Valentine is looking at managing a tight city budget, working with city council on the final development of Space to Create and, in the more immediate sense, guiding the city through the emergency on a day-to-day basis.
The city council also approved a declaration of emergency. And in the process, they looked at options that might help the public with such things as utility bills and a decrease in food as service workers throughout the city are faced with mandated down time, for which they are not being paid.
Council member Erin Ogletree asked staff if local businesses have been consulted about what their needs are and what the needs of the general population might be.
Council member Aaron Williamson wanted to know if the city had a road map ready that would make deliverable the things needed by both the small businesses in town and residents. That road map, according to council member Anthony Mattie, might include the city absorbing the costs (of utilities) for people in the most need. Mayor Rico noted the city wouldn’t want to help anyone already behind on their utility bills but moving forward might consider those who fall behind during the emergency.
Council member Rusty Goodall suggested, based on an email received from Wayne Pritchard, that rather than funding boards and commissions take the first quarter marijuana revenues that are used for the funding and help the elderly with utility payments and set up a food bank for those who are faced with a lowered income.
Rico said that suggestions will be sent to city staff who will then put together a draft of what a map may look like, allowing for input from staff. He also said that the city might stay in communication with the hospital about what kind of equipment and supplies they might need to purchase. He also said he had been in contact with the county commission concerning their commodities program, how it might be used. The council voted 7-0 to declare the emergency.
Rico also announced that Tom Murphy would hold a discussion concerning Trinidad, Las Animas County, and the COVID-19 virus, at the Mullare´ Murphy Funeral Home Thursday evening March 26, starting at 6 p.m. Community leaders have been invited to speak and answer questions. The meeting will be broadcast live on Comcast channel 71. It is also open to the public.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:20 am.