City addresses outlay priorities

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The Socorro City Council held a public forum for the city’s infrastructure capital improvement plan Aug. 20, and the public seemed to have pets on their mind.

The ICIP is a five-year list of priorities for funding. Every public entity must have an ICIP in place to qualify for funding such as capital outlay from the Legislature.

City Clerk Pat Salome said the City Council will rank the top five priorities. The city must turn the ICIP in to the state by the end of September, so the city will hold another public forum to gather input. Kathe Maclaren, who serves on the animal shelter board and is a member of Animal Protective Association of Socorro, told the council the animal shelter needs a rabies quarantine area.

Catharine Stewart-Roache, who has spoken to the council and the Socorro County Commission previously about dogs at large plaguing the area, suggested the city create a dog park where people can let their dogs run off-leash. She said dog owners currently bring their dogs to the golf course at New Mexico Tech and let them run there, which creates a hassle for golfers, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Stewart-Roache said a dog park would provide a safe area to let dogs run and play without endangering the public. She suggested fencing off part of Sedillo Park or Clarke Field to make a dog park.

Maclaren then returned to the podium and suggested that if an animal comes to the shelter, whether it was a stray or someone’s pet at large, it not leave the shelter without being sterilized.

Salome said the city is working on cleaning up language in its ordinances now, but for material changes such as that, the city should probably conduct a public hearing process.

Another APAS member said people who adopt from the city’s animal shelter are given 30 days to get the animal spayed or neutered. She said when APAS ran the shelter, no animal left without getting fixed. She pointed out animals can come into heat within 30 days, and urged the city to eliminate the 30-day allowance.

In other business, the Socorro City Council:

• Approved second reading of the ordinance for the city’s wastewater expansion project. City finance director Mable Gonzales said the project will extend the city’s sewer lines through Hope Farm Road. Salome said the project’s purpose is to protect groundwater from septic tanks.

• Approved a special use permit for Salem’s LLC for transient vendors at 1101, 1106 and 1107 California St., as recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission. According to the Planning and Zoning minutes included with the city’s agenda packet, the lots will be used to sell storage sheds.

• Approved a second change order for the Highlands detention pond project. Gonzales said it was an increase of $3,845.52, including state gross receipts taxes, to adjust contract quantities for unit price items to as built quantities.

• Authorized the city’s transportation department to apply for funding under Section 5311 of the U.S. Department of Transportation Rural and Small Urban Public Transportation Program. Gonzales said the funding also calls for a local match. Councilor Donald Monette noted this program helped Socorro start its public transportation services.