Welcome to News @ Noon for Saturday 16 February 2013 brought to you by Gila / Mimbres Community Radio in a community media collaboration with The Grant County Beat – your daily newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County.
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Gila EDA Roundtable hears from community bankers
Created on Friday, 15 February 2013 20:36
At Friday’s Gila Economic Development Alliance Roundtable, two bankers spoke about the economy.
Sean Ormand, CEO and President of 1st New Mexico Bank – with assets of about $100 million and 21 employees – said that although 1st New Mexico is a private business, it is treated as a public utility in many ways. Regulators have oversight of community banks.
“Banks are not complex as a product,” Ormand said. “Where the complexity comes in is how to use that product. We have to decide whether an investment is solid over time and where the risk is. If I lend money, it has to be done in the best interests of the person and the bank. We have stakeholders behind me whose deposits are also at risk, although they have the safety net of the FDIC.”
He said the Dodd-Frank bill, “…becomes a challenge for us, because … we have to spend time studying and managing for (new regulations) instead of being out in the community asking what you need. I, as a community bank, have to make it here. Most of the employees have at least a share or two, and I, too, have skin in the game. Why risk that?”
Ormand said he stays in economic development because “that’s what I do. We’re economic developers every day. I’m a salesman trying to sell confidence in using a local product and the money stays here.”
Mike Trujillo, AmBank president, said the country hit a recession in 2008, and “I’m not sure we have come out of it. Banks are flush with money, but we have a low loan demand.” “… people are scared … and have gotten out of the market and deposited their money because it’s insured, even though interest is low. People think safety of their money is important.”
He said a lot of people, who are able to, are taking advantage of refinancing at historically low interest rates. “They will reap the rewards when interest rates go up.”
As for regulatory issues, some banks in Europe are failing because they got hit with a tidal wave of bad loans. Basel III is a global regulatory system set to go into effect this year. “It will dictate where a bank can loan, instead of a banker making the decision.”
Arlene Schadel of the Gila EDA said, when she was interviewing businesses, they said they needed loans but couldn’t get them.
Trujillo said part of the regulations has people “looking over our shoulders scrutinizing our loan portfolio. If a person has three bad years of low income on their tax returns, we can’t loan to them.”
Trujillo said, if the minimum wage is increased to $9, it will cause inflation. “We have the highest price of gas in the state here, so the grocery store truck has to pay it, and it will increase food prices.”
Earl Montoya said the federal administration does not want inflation because it would increase the cost-of-living adjustment on expenditures.
Lynda Aiman-Smith said she supports local banks. “Most of the Dodd-Frank bill is pointed at rash banks. If you don’t have derivatives or offer stock, you won’t be regulated. I do support the Dodd-Frank, and the inflation index doesn’t include food and fuel. What can we do to help people locally and work together?”
“We want you to deposit with us,” Ormand said. “It’s hard for us to loan to a new business that has no track record. If it’s an existing business, which needs to buy new equipment, we ask if the business can pay overhead, make a living and pay employees. If yes, we can loan to the business.”
Trujillo also encouraged people, as a community, to try to shop local.
Aiman-Smith asked how much of local government money is in local banks. Trujillo said the governments have to spread the money out among banks.
Finally, Hope for Action from the
Downtown Action Plan approved by Town Council
Created on Friday, 15 February 2013 12:26 / By Charlie McKee
On Tuesday, Feb. 12, the Town Council approved Ordinance No. 1214, which in turn approved the Silver City Metropolitan Redevelopment Area Plan after months of controversy and debate. The Plan is an updated version of the 2010 Downtown Action Plan, which is a comprehensive approach to cleaning up and revitalizing Silver City’s historic downtown area.
The controversy and debate sparked from a single word, “blight,” which is required by New Mexico state statute to designate a physical area as a “Metropolitan Redevelopment Area” (MRA). Citizens of Silver City—from Mayor James Marshall to private home owners in the targeted area—rebelled against the onerous description, concerned for the impact on public relations and tourism, as well as for property values.
Once an area is designated as an MRA in the state of New Mexico, however, it becomes eligible for a multitude of funding options to enable revitalization projects both to stimulate economic growth and to protect the health and safety of residents and visitors.
In support of approval of the ordinance, Charlie Deans of Community by Design in Santa Fe noted the huge potential benefit to Silver City of public/private partnerships enabled by the designation to improve downtown. Nick Seibel of MainStreet, which was instrumental in developing the original 2010 Downtown Action Plan, also spoke in support of the ordinance, as giving Silver City the financial toolkit to bring sustainable growth to the historic area. Councilor Mike Morones, as sponsor of the ordinance, noted that its approval provides “opportunities for decades” to enhance Silver City’s downtown center.
At the outset of the Council meeting and prior to the Public Hearing, Marshall and Councilor Cynthia Bettison reported that Grant County Prospectors, the area’s elected officials, and the Mayor and staff were providing excellent input and feedback in representing Silver City and Grant County to the current legislative session in Santa Fe.
There were numerous reports to the Council during the Reports portion of the meeting regarding the following items:
- Grant County Disabilities Advisory Council Report
- Silver City Deer Management Report
- San Vicente Trail User Survey Results
- Silver City Police Department’s 2012 Statistics Report
- Solar Array Facility Celebration
After the Reports and Public Hearing portions of the meeting, the Council approved a Consent Agenda, which consisted of five separate routine resolutions that are passed each year. They are:
- Resolution No. 2013-06: Adopting a Fair Housing Policy
- Resolution No. 2013-07: Citizen Participation Plan Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program
- Resolution No. 2013-08: Residential Anti-Displacement and Relocation Plan and Certification
- Resolution No. 2013-09: Section 3 Plan
- Resolution No. 2013-10: CDBG Procurement Policy
Lastly, the Council approved Notice of Intent (NOI) Ordinance No. 1216, which amends the Town of Silver City’s Municipal Code regarding Chapter 6: Animals. After approval of the NOI, the meeting was adjourned.
Cobre School Board accepts audit report, opens superintendent search
Created on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 20:11
The Cobre school board met on Monday, February 11, 2013. Board president Frank Cordova announced that in a closed session they discussed limited personnel, pending litigation and student identifiable issues, and no decisions had been made.
The unfinished business of January 28 saw Mike Stone of Stone-McGee and Company, Silver City, reporting on the audit performed back in November. He noted that while his report was months late, the District’s work had been turned in on time and there were no comments or recommendations needed. The board voted to accept the report.
Under the administration topic, Copper Little League asked permission to use the softball field near Bayard Elementary as it had in years past. The board approved the request as presented.
Three budget increases were requested and a budget adjustment for special capital outlay considered. The board approved an operational increase in the amount of $109,340. The transportation adjustment amounted to $19,822 and the Title I adjustment was $12,537. The special capital outlay request was for $61,155, increasing the summer school/after school budget from $32,773 to $57, 484, a difference of $24,711. Other instructional increases in nine other categories brought the total to the $61,155 figure. The board approved all the requests as presented.
Cordova explained the School Board Association Achievement Awards available and asked for nominations of staff or students to be sent in. Kelly nominated Ruben Udero for his past work with students over a many-year period. Cordova indicated he had the same person in mind, and no other nominations were made. Udero’s name will be submitted before the March deadline.
Cordova reminded the board that Interim Superintendent Peru had been given a one-year contract and it was time to either continue the contract or open a search again. Sepulveda moved that a search begin as early as tomorrow if it was appropriate, and continue to March 29, allowing about 33 business days (no weekends) for the effort. The vote approved the motion.
The review of bills was approved without discussion. The total of bills approved was $1,050,150.59.
Under Superintendent’s Report, Peru said the Sun Day Reading Program was money well spent, being used for special needs students and a few regular students. “It has helped our students tremendously,” he said. He also reported on transportation needs, saying there had been no new bus replacements in years, and no fleet additions in the past five years.
He hoped a new, smaller bus could be afforded before long, as some trips were being made in the large buses which weren’t even half filled. He also noted that windows weren’t functioning properly and created problems in both very cold and very hot weather. This was mainly cosmetic, but still inconvenient.
One softball field was due for major work. Places needed to be filled in; old work was so worn that accidents were possible. The infield had been redone but more work was needed.
The board looked at items for the next agenda and adjourned. The next board meeting is scheduled for February 25.