Village of Bosque Farms councilors examined different possibilities for raising $150,000 in costs arising from the Desmet lawsuit in which residential property located near a sewage plant became devalued.
The village has $300,000 in a land fund that would cover the cost of the lawsuit, according to Mayor Roger Baldwin.
“That money was placed in the land fund to replace or buy certain pieces of land,” Councilor David Linthicum said. “The money was set aside. At some time, I think we need to think about replenishing it.”
Village Attorney David Chavez examined the possible uses of the land fund money and did not see any problems.
“We looked at those funds that were earmarked to see if they needed to be replaced,” Chavez said. “Administration cannot find any restrictions on those funds.”
He said in a telephone interview Friday that such cases are not covered by insurance. “It’s a condemnation action, and it’s not an insurable risk,” he said.
Two possible methods of raising money to cover the lawsuit expenses are a property assessment tax or raising utility rates. Councilor Ginger Eldridge favored researching the idea of property assessment in order to raise money for projects, such as a new fire station or soccer fields.
“We’ve had people talk about the fire department and new soccer fields,” Eldridge said.
Baldwin and Councilor Wayne Ake were both reluctant to pass the burden of paying back the $150,000 in the form of utility increases. Ake pointed out that not all residents were on the public sewer system and taxing that use might not be a fair method.
Baldwin asked the councilors to research the land issue in terms of assessment values.
Resident Lar Thomas, an attorney, said he didn’t see any problem with using money from the land fund to pay the $150,000.
“If this land fund was to pay for land, isn’t that what we just did?” Thomas said. “That’s what the money was for. I think it was paid out of the appropriate fund.”
Other uses for land fund money were discussed, and Assistant Fire Chief Spencer Wood commented on the need for a new fire station. Wood pointed out that the current building was built in 1968 and said “the roof is sagging.”
“We would need about $280,000 for a new building and it wouldn’t be anything fancy,” said Wood, who has checked into the possibility of an all-metal building.
During the meeting, Muni-cipal Judge David Patterson presented Wood and the fire department a check for $600, donated by the Wal-Mart Distrubution Center in Los Lunas, where Patterson works.
Citizen Patsy Rich said a separate bond issue could be initiated to raise funds for the fire department or police department, and Baldwin asked the councilors to look into the bond issue.
In another matter, there was some heated discussion about a possible bike path along the Bosque Loop. One citizen spoke out against it because of possible safety concerns for children biking. After hearing the discussion, the council unanimously approved $1,880 to update the current engineering study for the bike path.
Village Administrator Jane Fritz and the village staff actually attended 11 meetings regarding the proposed bike path when, originally, only two sessions were planned. However, Fritz noted in her report to the council that the village was not charged for the additional work. Fritz has also taken on additional responsibilities related to homeland security.
In other business, the council accepted the 2002-03 village budget, which has been ap-proved by the State Department of Finance and Administration.