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City Council to consider transit budget request

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The Roswell City Council will consider approval of a budget request for fiscal year 2022 from the transit department this week.

The City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Roswell Convention & Civic Center, 912 N. Main St. The meeting will be live-streamed on the city’s YouTube channel. Due to public health orders, the city encourages public participation in the meeting or public hearings through GoToMeeting. Instructions to join the meeting via software can be found on the agenda on the city website.

The council will consider approval of an application to the New Mexico Department of Transportation for federal funding assistance for the fiscal year 2021-22. NMDOT administers the federal funds for local transportation programs.

Transit Director Becky Hicks told the Finance Committee at its Aug. 6 meeting the federal government stipulates the department’s budget request be submitted by the end of August.

The department’s budget is $2,089,098, which includes reimbursement of $1.2 million from NMDOT and a city share of $835,262.

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The budget request is fairly standard, Hicks told the Finance Committee, and includes the purchase of two new buses. However, it also includes funding for a phone app for riders.

“In order to get additional ridership, what we need to do is make it a convenient thing to do. Right now it’s not very convenient,” she said.

It’s hard to tell when buses will arrive at a stop and which stop they will arrive at, she said.

“What we want to do is get a rider-facing app, one that people can put on their smartphones and actually see where their bus is,” Hicks said.

The cost of the program is $21,375, according to the budget documents, and includes GPS tracking, apps for iPhone, Android and web browsers, and training. An additional subscription cost of $18,500 would be 50% reimbursed by the state if both the city and state approve the request, she said.

Changes to transit rates will also be up for approval in the consent agenda. The proposal would add a veteran’s rate and a discounted annual fare to the rate schedule.

Also at Thursday’s meeting:

• The city will recognize Roswell Fire Chief Devin Graham, who is retiring at the end of the month.

• Two closed sessions are scheduled, including discussion of possible litigation against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for damages resulting from restrictions imposed by public health orders. The council authorized City Manager Joe Neeb to investigate the city’s legal options at a special meeting July 23.

The other topic for closed session regards purchase or disposal of property or water rights to a potential land lease at the Roswell Air Center.

• The council will hear an appeal on a denial from Planning and Zoning concerning a request for a variance for a garage extension. The council will also conduct public hearings and votes on resolutions updating the lodgers’ tax; modifying articles on building and performance standards and home occupations; and the solid waste code.

• New business will include resolutions on solid waste fees, city manager’s findings on public nuisance properties, and a revised Infrastructure Capital Improvements Plan.

• The council will consider approving a firm to perform an audit on the Roswell Chamber of Commerce.

• Council members will consider an award to Holloway Construction for $279,538 for repairs from a June 11 water line break at the Roswell Public Library. Insurance reimbursement is estimated at $152,489 with a city contribution of $127,050.

• Other consent agenda items, which will be passed together with the approval of the agenda and previous meeting minutes, include approving a bid of $33,389 from L.N. Curtis and Sons for protective jackets and pants for the fire department; and an RFP for engineering services at the Roswell Air Center.

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