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Council to consider change in infrastructure security

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Daily Record File Photo City Manager Joe Neeb is pictured during a city forum last year.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

A resolution to be considered by the Roswell City Council on Thursday would update emergency response plans for the city’s critical infrastructure and provide training to emergency response departments for its security and protection at a cost of just over $1 million.

The City Council’s regular meeting will be at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Roswell Convention & Civic Center, 912 N. Main St. The meeting will be live-streamed on the city website and YouTube channel. An audio stream is available by phone at 646-749-3112.

Those wishing to speak during public comment sessions will need to sign up 30 minutes prior to the meeting through GoToMeeting. A link and access code will be on the city website’s livestream page, along with a number for technical assistance.

To sign up to speak, participants should make a request in the GoToMeeting chatbox and include the topic they wish to speak on. Public participation on agenda items will be early in the meeting, following City Manager Joe Neeb’s COVID-19 update. Public participation on all other topics will be near the end of the meeting, following new business.

Neeb said in an email to the Roswell Daily Record that Resolution 20-30 came about through reviews of infrastructure security measures.

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“As the current procedures were reviewed, it was determined that Roswell should expand its ongoing training program to include its public safety personnel,” he wrote.

The city’s enterprise funds of water, sewer and the Roswell Air Center all have the ability to hire their own security and response teams, Neeb said, although only the Air Center currently does so.

“The importance of preparing for protection of critical infrastructure became more apparent after 9/11,” Neeb said at the May 7 Finance Committee meeting, where the resolution was advanced to the full council.

“Each enterprise has its own ability to hire security and response teams but it is my position that emergency response is best handled by our departments dedicated and professionally trained for public safety,” he said.

The Air Center’s team would still operate and no jobs will be lost if the resolution is adopted, Neeb said.

The estimated $1,018,575 expense will be paid from the enterprise funds to cover the cost of training police, fire, dispatch and emergency services about the infrastructure systems and operations.

“The expansion of the emergency response plans assures that all public safety personnel are capable of responding appropriately in an infrastructure emergency along with our departmental operators,” Neeb said in the email to the Daily Record.

Also in new business on Thursday’s agenda are resolutions setting dates, times and places for regular City Council and committee meetings to comply with the New Mexico Open Meetings Act, creating a Keep Roswell Beautiful Community Board and implementing a business revolving loan program.

The council will also consider approval of Mayor Dennis Kintigh’s recommendations for the Commission on Aging and the Occupancy Tax Board. Jesse N. Davis and Helen Wakefield are recommended for Positions 1 and 2, respectively, for the Commission on Aging.

For the Occupancy Tax Board, Kintigh has recommended Bonnie Bitzer for Position 3, an at-large position, and Kerry Moore for Position 5, a tourist-related position.

The council will also consider accepting the audited financial statement for fiscal year 2019 and approving a public hearing and vote on a proposed ordinance updating the city code on the lodgers’ tax.

That update would reflect the change in state law that took effect Jan. 1 removing an exemption for short-term rentals with less than three rooms.

The consent agenda includes two leases at the Air Center. J&A Recycling, a local plastic recycling company, will lease an 800-square-foot portion of Building No. 100 to sort materials. The contract is for $3,600 annually.

Aersale, an aircraft maintenance and repair company at the airport since 2009, wants to lease 1 acre of vacant land for aircraft storage. The contract is for $3,000 annually.

Also on the consent agenda is a contract for the Carpenter Park splash pad and other improvements; design services for improvements at the McBride Veterans Cemetery; a request to share costs with the New Mexico Department of Transportation on paving Southeast Main; approval of a scope of services for an airport engineering consultant request for proposals; and approving the Roswell Public Library 2020-23 strategic plan.

The council will also conduct a public hearing and vote on an ordinance updating industrial wastewater regulations.

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