by Carol Bridge
COLFAX — The management of the county airport at Angel Fire was discussed at length in this week’s Colfax County Board of Commissioners meeting.
The question is whether to continue to seek a private company to manage the airport or to continue to manage it with county staff. The last bid request sent out seeking a private company returned only one response, and that response was disqualified because it lacked essential information regarding the finances of the company.
County manager Mary Lou Kern told the board about how well current employees are doing with the operation of the airport. Commission chair Bill Sauble added since they (current employees at Angel Fire Airport) have been effective with the management of the site, that they deserve to have some job security.
Commission member Roy Fernandez also added since there has been so little response from private airport management companies, the county should concentrate on keeping the airport in-house and to offer airport employees more stable jobs instead of just using them under a contract agreement that could end at any time. Member Landon Newton stated the search should continue for a private airport managing company.
It was voted on to keep the airport management in-house and to postpone indefinitely any further searches for a private management company.
Priorities of New Mexico Counties
Linda Gallegos, Colfax County Assessor and board member of New Mexico Counties (a coalition of representatives from each of the 33 counties of New Mexico), gave an update to the county commissioners when they met on September 25. She informed the commissioners of the priorities the group has for the upcoming legislative year.
New Mexico counties lobbies for protection of counties against state legislation attempting to pass costs or responsibility back onto counties.
The priorities the counties agree on are:
• Protecting counties from any forfeiture act reform (dealing with forfeited and abandoned properties) that might affect counties negatively.
• Guarding counties against changes in the way that sheriff’s offices are reimbursed for transferring state prisoners.
• Protecting counties from changes in the way that Emergency Medical, Behavioral Health, and Fire Protection Services are funded that would push costs back onto counties.
• Finally, the organization is working to see that funds pulled from counties in past years to alleviate state shortfalls, should be restored now that the state is in better financial shape.
Gallegos asked the commissioners for a resolution of support for these priorities and after some minor changes suggested by commission vice chair Newton, the commissioners voted to make a resolution to be taken back to the New Mexico County organization.
In other business
The commissioners voted and passed three resolutions: They supported the 2019 Legislative Priorities for Colfax County. They authorized the execution and delivery of the loan agreement for the construction of the new fire station for District 8.
They voted to help form and join with regional and developmental entities within the local region of the Enchanted Circle Council of Governments (ECCOG). The Enchanted Circle will include Taos (city and county), Red River, Questa, Angel Fire, Eagle Nest, and Raton. It will not cost anything but a time commitment, and will serve to promote the area and to work on various projects together. County attorney Terrence Kamm, has reviewed the agreement to form a council of governments, according to Newton.
Policy and revisions to the Vigil-Maldonado Detention Center were approved. Liability insurance and property use for ‘Balloons Over Angel Fire’ agreements were passed.
Commissioners gave brief updates on ongoing issues and upcoming meetings. Sauble reported the county has asked Amtrak for a negotiation meeting but has not been given a firm date for this meeting. Newton will be attending a NERTPO (Northeast Regional Transportation Organization) meeting on Wednesday.
The next meeting will be at 9 am, October 9, at the county building on 3rd Street in Raton.