Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
The Roswell City Council will consider implementing fees for several quality of life services offered by the city when it meets for its regular meeting this week.
The meeting will be at 6 p.m. Thursday in Meeting Room A of the Roswell Convention & Civic Center, 912 N. Main St. Due to state health orders, the public is encouraged to attend electronically. The meeting will be livestreamed on the city’s YouTube channel. Those wanting to participate can do so through GoToMeeting virtual meeting software.
By computer, tablet or smartphone, the meeting can be joined at https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/815060573. To join by phone, call 669-224-3412 and use access code 815-060-573.
The council will discuss and vote on resolutions that would set special event fees, a fee schedule for recreation facilities and admission rates for the Roswell Museum and Art Center.
The special event fees, Resolution 20-65, almost failed to get on the council’s agenda when an initial vote by the Finance Committee on Thursday was 2-2. Councilors Jacob Roebuck and Margaret Kennard voted in favor, with Councilors Jason Perry and Juan Oropesa voting against.
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Roebuck then immediately made a motion to send the resolution to full council with no recommendation from the committee. That motion passed 4-0.
In discussing the proposal, committee members expressed concern about charging for use of city personnel or equipment, as cost recovery, versus including those items for events as a service that brings economic benefit to the city.
The proposed fee schedule has a few changes from the current fees, Juanita Jennings, public affairs director, told the committee. Use of city personnel increases by $10 per hour per person to $30 per hour per person to reflect the cost of living increases, Jennings said. Street barricades would increase by $5 to $10 and roll-off sanitation containers will increase from $238 to $371. Charges for warning signs, sandbags and programmable signs were also added.
Councilor Jacob Roebuck said he would like to see the actual revenue from the fees in the future so the council could determine if a fee was set too high or too low or if it is even needed.
Jennings said in 2019, the city collected about $11,000 from the fees.
“The city ends up paying most of the services for the event organizers because the fees don’t cover the actual cost of our labor and staff,” she said.
“I see what you’re saying there, nonetheless that doesn’t justify any one fee. It just says the whole system is broken,” Roebuck said.
Roebuck said he would vote for the fees to go before the full council, however.
Perry said he agreed the revenue reports would be helpful, but was still against the proposed fees.
“My concern is $11,000 does not do a whole lot for the city. In the end game, is it really beneficial, the time that’s put in trying to keep track and make collection and that sort of thing,” he said.
Roebuck said while cost recovery for events is a good place to start, the city should consider the public just expects the city to provide certain services.
“We would provide trash service because we’re the only one equipped to do that. I think people have the idea we provide the services because they provide an economic benefit to the city,” he said.
“If it was about cost recovery, we would just cancel this, because $11,000 does not cover all of this by any stretch of the imagination,” Roebuck said.
Oropesa also agreed cost recovery is good, but said the city should not be run like a business.
“We’re a quality of life service provider so with that, in my opinion, it’s not that necessary to recover every single penny the city spends. I think we should look at it more as a partnership with the community, especially those nonprofits. With the amount of money or the charges that are here, we’re almost making it impossible for some of these nonprofit organizations to do an event,” he said.
Recreation Director Marcus Gallegos reminded councilors that the city’s fiscal year 2021 budget charges departments to recover a portion of their expenses.
“Our budgets this year were based on that we have to meet certain cost recovery guidelines. It’s written out in the budget,” he said.
“It’s not just the city budget, it affects ours as well. It affects sanitation, it affects streets. All these other people have to pull their people off of jobs they’re doing to do these special events. Not that I’m against special events, I just think there should be some cost to these people that want to hold special events and are using our people to do so,” he said.
He gave the city’s mobile stage as an example. It takes members of his staff an entire day to load the stage on a truck and set it up, he said.
Gallegos earlier in the committee meeting had presented a fee schedule for his department. That resolution had also gone before the General Services Committee on Sept. 23 with a 2-2 vote. It passed the Finance Committee 4-0 on Thursday. It will now go before the City Council this week.
The council will also consider for the second time a resolution setting admission fees for the RMAC. Resolution 20-55 was discussed at the Sept. 10 council meeting. The vote was 5-3, but that failed to get the majority vote of the entire body — six “yes” votes from the 10-member council — and failed.
Agenda items that fail cannot return to the agenda for six months unless at least five members of the council request it. According to agenda documents, six city councilors requested it be placed on the agenda this month.
Also on Thursday’s agenda:
• The council will consider a resolution establishing a partnership with the Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp. to administer grants for small businesses for pandemic relief.
• Public hearings and votes will be conducted on transfer of ownership of six liquor licenses, an ordinance amending city code on convention center financing and the sale of land to Ergon Asphalt and Emulsions.
• Two other items are related to the sale to Ergon Asphalt: adoption of a rail spur maintenance agreement and the real estate purchase agreement. The rail spur agreement is included in the consent agenda.
• The council will consider approving a conceptual plan for ballfields and an inclusive park at Cielo Grande Recreation Center.
• Other items on the consent agenda include awarding work on the city’s wayfinding plan to GroundWorks Studio of Albuquerque; reinstating step increases for city staff and three lease agreements at the Roswell Air Center. Unless the council approves moving an item to the regular agenda, all consent agenda items are approved in one action.
• A closed session is scheduled to discuss the purchase, acquisition or disposal of property or water rights relating to potential lease of land at the Roswell Air Center.
City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or email@example.com.