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City encourages virtual participation in council meeting

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Residents wanting to voice their concerns in Thursday’s City Council meeting are encouraged to do so virtually.

The City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday in Meeting Room A of the Roswell Convention & Civic Center, 912 N. Main St.

The meeting location will be open to the public, but Todd Wildermuth, city of Roswell public information officer, said the city discourages anyone from attending in person unless absolutely necessary due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“What we’re asking is that only anyone who does not have any online access and still wants to come watch the meeting or participate, those should be the only people that show up, if they just can’t do it online,” he said.

To allow virtual public participation, residents will be able to log in to the meeting online through GoToMeeting. The public participation will be audio only, Wildermuth said.

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A link to GoToMeeting will be posted on the city’s live-stream page, www.roswell-nm.gov/1091/Live-Stream. As with the in-person meetings, those wanting to speak will have to sign up prior to the meeting, starting at 5:45 p.m. by going to the GoToMeeting chatbox and posting their name and the topic they want to address.

Those wanting to speak will be kept on mute until it is their turn to speak. While waiting, participants can watch the live stream, Wildermuth said.

Council members and other city officials will also be able to attend the meeting virtually through the software, allowing the city to be compliant with health orders restricting the number of people at a gathering.

The meeting will be live-streamed as usual on the city’s website and YouTube channel, but those avenues only allow for viewing, not direct interaction.

Public participation sessions are scheduled for shortly after the start of the meeting for topics that are on the agenda and near the end of the meeting for topics not on the agenda.

At Thursday’s meeting, City Manager Joe Neeb will give a presentation outlining how the city has categorized services and reassigned personnel to make sure necessary services are being provided.

The city has created four categories for services — essential, partial essential, partial non-essential and non-essential — but Neeb said in an email the term “essential” is used only in setting priorities for services needed through the pandemic and to meet federal and state use of the term.

Those services deemed essential are infrastructure, public safety, administration and communication, and transportation. However, Neeb said, those could change.

“The pandemic is an ever-evolving situation and our responses continually change and update to meet needs and expectations. What this means is that services are shifting on the essential scale daily and something that has been labeled in one category may move to another category,” he said in the email.

All regular city employees have been kept working somewhere in the city to help cover those shifting needs, he said.

Also on Thursday’s agenda are the election of a mayor pro tem and approval of appointments and recommendations for commissions and boards by the mayor.

Two closed sessions are scheduled, one to discuss the purchase, acquisition or disposal of a vacant lot near the Roswell Air Center and one to discuss attorney-client privilege pertaining to allegations of property damage, personal injury, injury to waterways and water rights, unlawful exercise of government authority and employment issues, according to the agenda and an addendum.

Among the items on the consent agenda are contracts for sewer manhole rehabilitation and water valve replacement projects and installation of emergency generators for two city water wells, purchase of a wood chipper, a request for proposals for on-call engineering services, and resolutions setting boundaries for Main Street Roswell and the Railroad District Metropolitan Redevelopment District.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

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

 

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