High­lights of the Ca­tron County Com­mis­sion­ers Meet­ing

Catron Courier - - Front Page -

By Naomi Martineau

Cruzville Con­ve­nience Cen­ter

Dozens of res­i­dents from Cruzville, Apache Creek, and Aragon packed the court­room to par­tic­i­pate in the agenda item "Cruzville Con­ve­nience Cen­ter Clo­sure Op­tion."

Com­mis­sion chair­man Glyn Grif­fin gave an in­tro­duc­tion to the prob­lem, stat­ing that solid waste has been on the agenda since 2002, and the county is go­ing in the hole $20,000 per month. This deficit is be­ing made up by the Gen­eral Fund and if some­thing is not changed the county will be com­pletely broke. A big prob­lem is that $110,000 has not been paid to the pro­gram. They plan to close all but four sites: Glen­wood, Re­serve, Que­mado, and Datil. They plan to have two em­ploy­ees, who will man the cen­ters and haul the ma­te­rial to Blue Hills, the Ari­zona land­fill. Another op­tion is to turn it over to pri­vate en­ter­prise. The county is not ob­li­gated to take care of peo­ple's trash.

While the county plans to have pub­lic meet­ings to dis­cuss solid waste, some­time in the fu­ture, this item was put on the agenda to­day sim­ply be­cause the em­ployee at the Cruzville cen­ter was quit­ting, and the county had to de­cide whether or not to re­place him. They were not sin­gling out the CACA com­mu­nity.

Most com­ments in­cluded sup­port for rais­ing fees, and the high cost of driv­ing the garbage to Re­serve. Sam Freshour said, "It costs me two gal­lons of gas from Cruzville to drive to Re­serve, and it's more than that for most peo­ple."

Cindy Wasser­burger said, "We have to con­sider the se­niors and the lo­cal eco­nomic im­pact. The amount they spend on driv­ing their garbage to Re­serve is money they won't be able to spend at Jakes." Jeff Ter­rell sug­gested mak­ing it more palat­able by charg­ing a monthly fee of $20.

Com­mis­sion­ers were re­luc­tant to con­sider rais­ing fees suf­fi­ciently to cover the cost of cur­rent ser­vices. "If we raise fees, peo­ple will think we're chok­ing their kids."

Other com­ments fo­cused on the amount that will be saved by clos­ing the cen­ter. Com­mis­sioner Grif­fin said it costs $14,000 per year to op­er­ate.

De­bra Knud­son said that not ev­ery house­hold pro­duces the same amount of trash. A solid fee is not fair. Jim Wasser­burger sug­gested a se­nior dis­count in the form of half price, and only re­ceiv­ing one card.

There was gen­eral in­dig­na­tion at the in­for­ma­tion that this hard­ship is partly caused by the re­fusal of some peo­ple to pay the cur­rent fee, to share the load. Dave Grandchamp said that in other places, if a person is delin­quent on his taxes the prop­erty can be put up for bid. Why can't we do that here? Com­mis­sioner Grif­fin ex­plained that be­cause the county is not re­quired to pro­vide this ser­vice, they can­not add it to the tax bill. County man­ager Cath­lyn Sny­der said they tried that in Luna County un­suc­cess­fully, but they will con­tinue to re­search so­lu­tions. Jeff Ter­rell said that these peo­ple can be taken to small claims court, where a judg­ment can be ob­tained.

Eva Stover said some places have en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact tax, not a solid waste fee.

Jim Wasser­burger said that a few years ago these prob­lems were fore­seen, and a group, led by Mary Rakestraw, spent a lot of time on a study that in­cluded some so­lu­tions. None of the county com­mis­sion­ers or per­son­nel seemed fa­mil­iar with the study. Wasser­burger rec­om­mended they get it and read it.

Jeff Ter­rell said when they closed the Aragon cen­ter, it was sug­gested they con­tact Don Tripp, who is help­ful in in­tro­duc­ing leg­is­la­tion in Santa Fe. That wasn't done, but it could still be done.

Sam Freshour said he was con­cerned about peo­ple hav­ing to pay the fee for prop­erty that isn't gen­er­at­ing trash. Com­mis­sioner Grif­fin ex­plained the pol­icy is prop­er­ties with util­i­ties are as­sessed the fee.

Mary Na­jar vol­un­teered to man the site, to save the county money, and save her neigh­bors the drive to Re­serve. Com­mis­sioner Grif­fin said that would be a li­a­bil­ity if some­one fell and broke their leg.

Jeff Ter­rell said, "It's time for this com­mis­sion to take the bull by the horns and get some­thing done." Com­mis­sioner Grif­fin said, "There will be no more pass­ing the buck." A de­ci­sion was tabled un­til next meet­ing.

Air Force Train­ing

Cap­tain Matt Bab­cock of Davis Mon­tham Air Force Base re­ported on An­gel Thun­der, a premi- ere per­son­nel re­cov­ery ex­er­cise to be con­ducted in Re­serve in April. An­gel Thun­der is part of a 12-ex­er­cise pro­gram to train Air Force per­son­nel to sup­port civil au­thor­i­ties. This would be use­ful in the event that an emer­gency is greater than lo­cal re­sources can han­dle.

The ex­er­cise is based on a fic­tional earthquake in Ari­zona. (His­tor­i­cally this has hap­pened.) Fifty hik­ers in the Negrito area ex­pe­ri­ence a land­slide, which kills their leader and in­jures oth­ers.

The Air Force will use the Re­serve For­est Ser­vice build­ing as their In­ci­dent Com­mand Post, and re­quested per­mis­sion from the com­mis­sion to use the fair­grounds for stag­ing. The com­mis­sion­ers gave their per­mis­sion. The Air Force will pay for util­i­ties used. The 24-hour train­ing ex­er­cise will be April 13 and 14.

For­est Ser­vice News

Gila For­est Su­per­vi­sor Kelly Rus­sell re­ported the For­est has hired two new peo­ple to help ex­pe­dite tim­ber sales. Cur­rently there are 8700 ccf un­der con­tract, and there will be sev­eral more sales by Septem­ber. Tim­ber sales on the For­est are dou­ble what they were ten years ago.

Com­mis­sioner Bucky Allred cited a study by Gary Sny­der, Rocky Moun­tain Sta­tion, which said that the For­est could sus­tain over 30,000,000 lin­ear board feet, and asked why is more log­ging not pur­sued in Que­mado, Luna, and Re­serve?

Su­per­vi­sor Rus­sell was not fa­mil­iar with the study. How­ever, she said she is com­mit­ted to mak­ing the in­vest­ment in help­ing the area de­velop more tim­ber.

Com­mis­sioner Rus­sell said she is com­mit­ted to open­ing up as much of the Cat­walk as is safe, as quickly as can be. She sees her role as help­ing to speed the process. New toi­lets have been or­dered. An in­depth haz­ard anal­y­sis will be com­pleted by the end of April to in­di­cate how much can be done. When the bridges are put back in they'll have to ad­here to higher stan­dards. They in­tend to open the closed trails within a month. She is also com­mit­ted to work­ing with the county on the Com­mu­nity Wild­fire Pro­tec­tion Plans. She will be mak­ing the de­ci­sion on the Travel Man­age­ment Plan around the end of April.

Re­serve District Ranger John Pier­son said that they re­moved the pine lawn toi­let for health and safety rea­sons; the sys­tem didn't work.

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