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City presents project updates at public forum

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City Engineer Louis Najar addresses the audience at the public forum on Thursday evening. Deputy City Manager Mike Mathews is also pictured. (Alison Penn Photo)

The city of Roswell’s most recent public forum, focused on operations and public works, covered topics related to sanitation, water and more.

Approximately 20 city employees and 10 citizens were present at the nearly two-hour forum at the Roswell Convention & Civic Center at 912 N. Main St. City councilors Jeanine Corn Best and Judy Stubbs thanked citizens for attending, encouraged them to bring their friends to forums and also encouraged citizens to report what they see and use the city’s online Fix-It form for issues.

For the first 45 minutes, city officials from the airport, central control/water production, facilities maintenance, and solid waste gave presentations on their departments and what they bring to the city — as well as project updates.

After department presentations, citizens listed the following items to be discussed: trash trucks, the city subsidizing the county’s trash in the city landfill, trash and litter going into waterways, street resurfacing, citizen responsibility for trash, and domestic water wells.

Deputy City Manager Mike Mathews thanked attendees for coming to the forum, and city staff for putting together information for presentations. Mathews offered a tour of the wastewater treatment plant for interested parties.

“You see tonight from all the presentations — this isn’t a cheap operation,” Mathews said. “We’re talking multimillion-dollar projects in just these services of providing water to everybody, sewer to everybody, trash pick-up for everybody. It’s a multimillion-dollar operation, and you’re absolutely right, we have to watch everything that we do, make sure that what we’re charging for our service is appropriate.

“I’m not saying that we take advantage of anybody, but we’re doing appropriate fees for the type of services that we’re providing to our community and those outside.”

City Engineer Louis Najar addressed streets and said the realignment of Stone and Montana from a 90-degree turn to an S-curve is finished and was opened last night.

Najar said in terms of street resurfacing that a contractor conducts the crack sealing twice a year and it takes eight years for the same street to be resealed.

In regard to sanitation, Steve Miko, director of sanitation, recycling and landfill, said the schedule and map for grappler truck pick-up should be made public by the end of May. Miko also said flyers will be going out to citizens, encouraging them to bag their trash and keep lids on lidded receptacles.

For domestic water wells, Najar said there is a source water detection plan in the works with the New Mexico Environment Department to protect waterways. A couple of years ago, Najar said the city looked into implementing a well ordinance that would forbid new wells, but not prohibit use of existing wells. He said there were 1,000 private and permitted wells at that time and the city uses 20 wells. A meeting on the topic will be held on May 14 at the Roswell Adult & Recreation Center at 807 N. Missouri with more information to be released by the city.

A meeting for the bicycle and pedestrian master plan was announced for May 2, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Roswell Public Library, to seek residents’ input for biking and walkability around the city.

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.