Home News Local News Artesia candidates file; City Council passes measure to help create jobs

Artesia candidates file; City Council passes measure to help create jobs

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ARTESIA — “Four years ago we had five uncontested races, we’ll have an election this year.”

Artesia’s outgoing Mayor Phil Burch made that statement before the conclusion of Tuesday night’s Artesia City Council meeting.

Not only was Tuesday City Council day in Artesia, it was also filing day for those seeking seats on the council along with the Mayor’s spot.

Mayor Burch decided not to seek another term, so he will be replaced by Raye Miller. He is unopposed in the March election. Although the deadline for write-in candidates to declare is Jan. 16, according to Aubrey Hobson Artesia’s city clerk.

District 1 incumbent Raul Rodriguez will be challenged by Delia Collier on Mar. 6. She is the wife of former District 3 Eddy County Commissioner Glen Collier.

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District 2 will see a new councilor. Nora Sanchez was appointed in 2016 after the passing of Jose Luis Aguilar and the man who is running for the seat is a name familiar with Artesia residents. Michael Mondragon the head boys basketball coach at Artesia High School has no opposition so far. Sanchez is a former councilor and decided not to run.

District 3 incumbent Kent Bratcher will be facing Tommy Bailes. In District 4, Mayor Pro-Tem Terry Hill will be facing Kenneth Hart and Kevin Baggerly.

Before Tuesday’s meeting ended, Hill was glad that some citizens stepped forward to provide a challenge to the incumbents. “It’s encouraging,” he said.

“It’s an open process,” Rodriguez said of the upcoming election. “To all the candidates, good luck to everyone,” he added.

Hobson said the candidates have to be certified by Thursday morning and then positions will be drawn that afternoon at 5:01 p.m.

Hobson added that absentee ballots will be mailed out on Jan. 30 and early voting will start Feb. 21 and will conclude Mar. 2 and voting day is Mar. 6.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the council approved $500,000 in a public participation agreement between the city and Chase Petroleum Service and Supply.

Michael Bundt, the economic development director for the Artesia Chamber Commerce presented the proposal to councilors during a public hearing.

He said the Chase group was looking for the funds to develop 80 new jobs over a three-year period.

Bundt also told the council that the new jobs would also create other jobs in the community and there’s a potential for millions of dollars to be brought into the city treasury.

Artesia City Attorney John Caraway said the agreement complies existing ordinances.

Hill was ecstatic to see the potential for the new jobs in the coming years. However, he was concerned about the housing situation in the community.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we could keep those people here,?” Hill asked, citing that a lot of people who work in Artesia’s oil and gas community and live in Roswell or Carlsbad and commute everyday.

Bundt told Hill that progress has been made over the years to get new apartment complexes and homes built in Artesia.

“It would be a dream come true if we could keep 80 new jobs in town,” Hill added.

Once the discussion ended the council approved the measure.

General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at sports2@rdrnews.com.