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Ask the city 9-7-17

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Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh met recently with the Daily Record to answer questions from readers. The following are the questions and the mayor’s responses. If you have questions for the mayor or the city, please email them to Managing Editor Misty Choy at m.editor@rdrnews.com.

What are the financial benefits to the city if our population reaches 50,000 in the 2020 census?
“Well, that’s hard to say. There are some, you get classified as a different level and you end up on different lists of places for businesses to locate. It’s desirable. I don’t think it’s a magic bullet.”

My concern is that our part of the state is truly becoming the “nuclear alley” of the southwest (as we’re called in Santa Fe.) Who is monitoring or has oversight over all the various companies now making a buck with nuclear waste (e.g., Eunice)?
“Federal government.”

Has any city of Roswell employees checked for radioactivity on the Relief Route and elsewhere?
“Not that I’m aware of.”

What are the railcars carrying? Roswell is so complacent about the nuclear waste industry, trusting that company employees are doing their job and happy about “jobs.”
“Far as I know, there is no nuclear waste in railroads. The railroads’ primary has been potash going out, frack-sand coming in (frack-sand — for hydraulic fracturing). They do their other stuff from the refinery coming and going, the refinery in Artesia, and that’s it that I know of. We’re running somewhere between five and seven trains a day.”

Who cares about citizen health and welfare? We’ve seen how sloppy Los Alamos/WIPP have been, after all their endless assurances. All we, the citizens of Roswell, know is what the industry tells us.
“That’s not correct. There is a federal agency responsible for oversight of the nuclear industry. These are people who are specially trained, have special credentials, have access. Let’s don’t try and duplicate jobs that are done by the federal government. We have enough responsibilities of our own, and to pretend or assume that there is a major nuclear industry issue here in Roswell is not reasonable, and it could involve diverting needed resources from what our real issues are.”

If it does not violate historical rules, could we use some of the lodgers tax funds to power wash the Conoco station and repaint the shutters, and also plant new shrubs?
“We have plans in the works to clean up the Conoco station, that’s going to become the new visitor’s center. That’s a project that’s ongoing right now. The details of that whole project and what else needs to be done, I don’t have in front of me, but that’s all going to be upgraded, that will be the new public restrooms and visitor’s center.”

Does the city support the effort to get the state leaders to authorize the Roswell International Air Center to become an independent airport authority?
“We’ve talked about that with EDC and we will receive from the Economic Development Corporation a proposed course of action. There’s two parts here. One would be to change state law to allow existence of a port authority. We have to see what that looks like. And the other one is to propose local ordinance changes that would give us some type of semi-port authority. There is no mechanism in the state right now for a port authority, and we’re supporting the study by the Economic Development Corporation, so we will see what comes forward.”

The city and county manager and their staffs are discussing ways to enhance the governance of the ETZ commission so that our arterial highways entering Roswell and the adjoining properties become more attractive for future job producing employers. Do you think these talks hold promise?
“Yes. We know each other.”

The city of Roswell recently renovated or built all of the fire stations. Were the facilities designed to accommodate firefighters of both genders?
“I don’t know, I assume so. I believe there are restrooms and facilities for both genders but I couldn’t tell you. It’s been a while since we did a fire station. Fire station No. 3 I think is our newest one and that is over 5 years old. I would have to go back and look.”

There are women fire fighters all over the world however there are no women fire fighters in the Roswell Fire Department. Have there ever been any women fire fighters in the RFD? If so, when and how many? If not, why not?
“I don’t know of any. I know that there have been women who have tried out for the physical fitness test with the Roswell Fire Department, matter of fact, I did that test myself a couple years ago. It’s an interesting test because it’s really, really focused on the job. So the end result is I fully expect any that individual, regardless of gender, who can pass the physical fitness and doesn’t have other issues, like a criminal history, or things like that, would be fully considered for a position.”

Does the city have a plan to be inclusive of women? What has the city of Roswell done to be proactive to accommodate women in fire departments?
“Like I said, the physical fitness test is truly patterned upon what firefighters do, and as I’ve said, I’ve done the test myself. It’s not an impossible one. I was able to do it within the time limits. So if this gray-haired old guy can do it, many can. But, it is something that individuals who are firefighters need to do for the safety of the people they’re trying to serve and just as importantly, the safety of those they are working with. You cannot put people at risk just to be politically correct. I will not do that nor will I support it. Do I believe in everybody having an opportunity? Absolutely, but we’re not going to play games with people’s lives.”

There are no women in leadership positions in the Roswell Police Department? If not, why not?
“As far as the positions. I know we’ve had sergeants that were female, which I’m pretty sure we have. I don’t know, we don’t have that many female officers right now, and that’s part of the issue is they’ve got to apply, and they’ve got to put in for the promotions. If they do, I fully expect the police department leadership to treat them equally. I’ve worked alongside female law enforcement officers since I began 35 years ago. No reason not to have women in leadership positions in law enforcement.”