ARTESIA — “Right now, we are getting a temporary solution.”
That’s what Artesia City District 1 Councilor Raul Rodriguez said when asked about the water situation in the community.
The community water system was discussed during Tuesday night’s city council meeting. Artesia has dealt with E.coli on two different occasions this year, which prompted a boil water alert.
“We’ll chlorinate three wells with some chlorination tablets and that is to try and have some preventative maintenance on these wells, this is what we call a short term solution,” Rodriguez said.
He said city officials are also looking at a long term solution. “At this point and time we are just trying to prevent any E.coli or any other chemicals getting into our water.”
Late last month a town hall meeting was held to update residents on the water situation. Rodriguez was one of the attendees and he was asked to gauge the mood of the community during the past few weeks.
“On a personal basis, people that have spoken to me have said they don’t want to chlorinate,” he said.
“If you look at the attendance that took place at the town hall meeting at the Artesia (Recreation) Center, there was about 30 to 35 people in attendance, about half of those were either city staff, press or city councilors. I estimated only about 15 to 18 citizens (in attendance),” Rodriguez added.
“You figured they express their viewpoints on social media, they don’t come publicly. We’d like to have some public input because this is a decision we will make. No matter which way we go we understand there is never going to be a win-win situation for everybody,” he said.
Rodriguez said the council has to act in the best interest “of our situation.”
He said the council will have another discussion on the water situation on Oct. 24.
“It just happened that it did not make the agenda for this past meeting, it was just an oversight.”
The council also addressed another water issue in the community.
“We have homes out there that have no utilities or limited utilities,” Rodriguez said. “Those are homes we need to look at that are either in the condemnation stage or in the dilapidated stage that we will need to address.”
Rodriguez called these situations tough. “Maybe that’s the only thing that they have to live in. Homes that are boarded up or homes that don’t have utilities can pose a danger to others.”
Also on Tuesday night the council voted to hire some new personnel, the agenda shows that most of them are in the Artesia Police Department.
“Some of the new hires are local,” Rodriguez said. “That’s a good thing.”
He said two community service officers were hired and a detention officer was promoted to an uncertified police officer.
Rodriguez said the city is also looking for more help. “We had some people that resigned from their positions and so we do have seven new hires that we have on the (city) website for applicants to start interviewing and try to fill those positions.”
General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.