Saturday, January 22, 2011

Summary of January 11th Commission Meeting

The Mora County Commission is started the year with two important meetings in early January. The Commission includes sitting commissioner Laudente Quintana from Wagon Mound as well as new commissioners John Olivas and Paula Garcia. At their first meeting on January 4th, 2010, the commission adopted an Open Meetings resolution which specifies public notice requirements of meetings. Also, the commissioners elected the following officers: Paula Garcia, Chair, and Laudente Quintana, Vice-Chair.

At their second meeting on January 11, 2010, which was attended by over fifty members of the public, the commission had long agenda including reports from elected officials, Pamela Garcia from Congressman Ben Ray Lujan’s office, Anna Rael-Delay from Senator Tom Udall's office, and Representative Thomas Garcia. County Assessor Paul Duran reported that the purchase of the Burlington and Santa Fe railroad by the State of New Mexico would result in a significant loss of the tax base in Mora County. As a follow up, the commission and assessor sent a letter to Governor Susana Martinez and legislators requesting that any agreements to purchase the railroad be rescinded.

The agenda item of greatest interest to the public was a presentation by Ortega, Romero, Rodriguez and Associates who serve as the architectural firm for the Mora County Complex. Antonio Ortega and Jake Rodriguez presented the background and current design of the complex and responded to about four hours of questioning. The firm did the design work for the remodel of the old courthouse. After that project was blocked by a lawsuit from Concerned Citizens for Honest Government, Ortega was retained as the architect for the new courthouse, now called a complex.

The original construction estimate was about $7 million and later was increased to $11-$13.5 million after the design was complete. The previous commission chose to do a shell rather than a section after they were able to secure only partial funding in the amount of about $5 million. Ortega and Associates explained that their firm owns the design and are the only architects that can work on the design. If the complex is phased down, it would incur additional design fees.

After hours of questioning, the Mora County Commission and the public came away with a better understanding of the project and the challenges that lie ahead. The Commission faces difficult decisions in terms of shrinking revenue and demands to complete, or partially complete, the complex.

Meeting agendas and highlights are posted at temporarily until the official website, is completed.

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