The City of Socorro remains in limbo on how to abandon a portion of Fourth Street, which was never developed or maintained by the city. Thus a legal opinion will be sought before it makes a decision.
Last week, the council once again discussed whether or not to take public land off their property rolls and give it to private landowners using a quitclaim deed.
Earlier in the month, Mayor Ravi Bhasker has asked councilors to consider abandoning .115 acres of land to allow Augustine and Leyla Gallegos, could build a fence around their property on a portion near Fourth Street.
The request was stalled when Councilor Anton Salome said there should be a special fiscal reason to abandon property to a private individual. If the property has value, the city should be compensated.
Last week, the council's discussion varied little from its prior conservation two weeks ago.
"My point is we have to run this by the city administration," Salome said. "Let them determine if the property has no value now or no value in the future. If it's no longer needed for a public purpose, then a formal determination can be made for abandonment of the property. If it’s costing the taxpayer more than the value of the property – then we need to get rid of it.”
Augustine Gallegos, who seeks the property, told councilors the street ends at their property near Socorro Electric Cooperative. "We wouldn't ask for it if the street adjoined another street. But it's a dead-end," he said, noting the property has become a nuisance. "I've had to pick up syringes and junk that people have thrown on the property. People have broken into our property and stole two of our four-wheelers. Next thing, some are going to get shot … and me doing it."
In 1996, an ordinance signed by Mayor H.O. Bursum Jr. vacated a portion of Fourth Street between Blocks 24 and 32 of the New Mexico Town Company Addition, which included the .115 acres of property Gallegos is seeking.
In the ordinance, it declared the property useless and unnecessary for public purposes.
On the recommendation of Councilor Gordy Hicks, the council agreed to send the quitclaim deed back to the city administration to come up with the necessary documentation to vacate the property for its November 4 council meeting.
In other business, council:
- Awarded C.C. Construction the bid for the remodeling of the Armory into the city’s convention center. The accepted bid was for $1,367,304.50.