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Council to consider land sale, recycling agreement

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The Roswell City Council this week will make decisions on selling Roswell Air Center property and awarding its first recycling franchise agreement.

Those items are on the agenda for the City Council’s regular meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. Thursday in Meeting Room A of the Roswell Convention & Civic Center, 912 N. Main St.

Due to public health orders, the public is encouraged to participate electronically through GoToMeeting. From a computer, tablet or smartphone, the meeting can be accessed at https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/815060573, or by calling 669-224-3412 and using access code 815-060-573.

The meeting will also be livestreamed on the city’s YouTube channel.

The council will consider a resolution that would approve the sale of 13.4 acres at the Roswell Air Center to Ergon Asphalt and Emulsions Inc., the real estate purchase agreement for the deal and a rail spur maintenance agreement with Ergon Asphalt.

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A public hearing on the resolution was conducted in October with the council voting to postpone a decision on the sale and directing City Manager Joe Neeb to also negotiate a long-term lease agreement with the company.

However, Neeb reported to the Finance Committee last week that he and the company’s representative were not able to agree on terms for a lease, so the sale will be the council’s only option to consider Thursday.

The resolution calls for a $340,000 sale price on the 13.4 acres Ergon currently leases from the city for $1,030 a month. The company has said it wants to expand its Roswell operations with about $2 million in improvements and that purchasing the land serves its best interest.

The rail spur maintenance agreement outlines that Ergon would reimburse the city’s expenses in maintaining the spur from its southern terminus on the Ergon property to the intersection with Southeast Main Street, up to $20,000 a year.

The City Council will also consider items concerning a recycling franchise agreement with J&A Recycling. The city announced in June it would be doing away with its recycling program, which it has been subsidizing at about $250,000 for the last several years due to changes in markets.

Instead, it has proposed a franchise agreement with J&A Recycling for curbside pickup. After first changing city code regarding solid waste to update terms on franchise agreements, the city is moving forward.

The first action will be to consider scheduling a public hearing and vote on the ordinance that would grant the franchise to J&A Recycling. If approved, that hearing and vote would likely occur at the full council’s December meeting.

The council will also consider at Thursday’s meeting approving the franchise agreement with J&A and a lease agreement for J&A to use city equipment at its facility. The one-year lease offers a Bobcat at $200 a month, a vertical bailer at $40 a month, a horizontal bailer at $75 a month and eight concrete barriers at $25 a month.

City Attorney Parker Patterson said the franchise agreement is contingent upon the approval of the resolution awarding the franchise and would not go into effect until after the resolution is passed. Presenting the items at the same time gives the city councilors the full information they might need regarding the proposal, Patterson said.

“We present them all at the same time to give the council an opportunity to see the deal as proposed in its entirety,” Patterson said.

“They may well postpone the decision on the agreement until they have the public hearing. That is certainly an option they would have,” he said.

The lease for equipment could take effect earlier, he said. The city and J&A have a three-month interim agreement on use of the city equipment that has an extension available if needed, Patterson said.

“They want this equipment so they can get rolling and hit the ground running when the franchise does get put together,” he said.

If the franchise is awarded and the franchise agreement approved, J&A Recycling would pay 7% of its gross receipts to the city.

The franchise would go into effect 30 days after the adoption of the ordinance if it remains unchallenged by a petition from the public.

Other items on the City Council’s agenda include the following:

• Consider conducting a pubic hearing on the city’s Labor Management Relations Board. The New Mexico Legislature amended the Employee Bargaining Act, requiring that local boards be reauthorized by a revised ordinance by the end of 2020. If not passed by Dec. 31, the local board will cease to exist and its functions taken over by the state’s Public Employee Labor Relations Board.

If approved, the public hearing on the resolution would likely be at the December City Council meeting.

• The city manager will give a presentation updating the council on Ascent Aviation Services, which intends to build a wide-body hangar on 10 acres of leased land at the Roswell Air Center. The investment could result in 360 jobs in Roswell by 2026.

• The council will also consider approval of awarding event management for the UFO Festival to In-Depth Events, McKinney Texas.

• Recognition of Marco Nava, executive director of the Roswell Hispano Chamber of Commerce.

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