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City might conduct more virtual forums

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The city wrapped up its series of virtual public forums with a short, open-discussion session, but City Manager Joe Neeb said there could be more forums scheduled on specific topics.

The city conducted five monthly forums since June, as it has done for several years, but moved them to a virtual space to comply with public health orders issued by the governor’s office limiting the size of public gatherings.

Thursday’s forum was an open discussion focused on Wards 1 and 2. Neeb answered questions about recycling and the city’s COVID-19 response. The forum, conducted through virtual meeting software GoToMeeting, showed 11 people attended. About half of them were city employees. Ward 3 City Councilor Jeanine Best also attended part of the meeting.

At the end of the half-hour forum, Neeb said the city is planning extra forums based on some of the questions the city had received throughout the series of meetings.

“One that comes up quite often that we know we will be having in the near future, I hope, is one on crime,” Neeb said.

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“I think the (police) chief has some insight that I would like to make sure that the neighborhoods are all aware of, because we need your help in order to correct the crime,” he said.

About 70-80% of crime in Roswell is related to drugs, Neeb said.

“There’s cause and effect with everything. The drug crime ties back to some of the petty crimes where cars are broken into, homes broken into and such. I would like to get the chief online. Maybe we’ll do a Q&A with the chief for that and he can provide some of that insight of what his crew is doing out there in order to help with that,” Neeb said.

Street maintenance might be another topic for a future forum as well, Neeb said.

He said communication with residents is important and encouraged people to contact the city with their concerns by email at info@roswell-nm.gov or by calling City Hall at 575-624-6700. On social media, the city has official pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The city tries to watch for comments and concerns posted on other Roswell-oriented social media accounts as well, he said, but those are not the best way to have the city hear concerns, he said.

“We try to watch those as closely as possible, but that is not actually reaching out to us, so you may or may not get an answer to your questions,” he said.

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