RIO COMMUNITIES—Anticipating and planning for the day when people can gather together again, the Rio Communities City Council unanimously approved a design for its public library.

During last year’s legislative session, $50,000 was allocated for a public library in Rio Communities. Peggy Gutjahr, the city’s mayor pro tem, said the money is being used for a temporary library in the current City Hall until they have the space ready in the south section of the building.

The design submitted to the council for approval is for a 1,000 square foot space where the old treasurer’s office was in the front of building.

A temporary public library Rio Communities will be housed in the current City Hall.
Submitted rendering

The library will have a wall dedicated for adult books, and another space for a children’s section. There is a design for a children’s reading nook as well as three young adults book section.

The librarian’s section will include a counter, with a DVD section. The reference book section, situated in the center of the room, will have a study table, a rack for periodicals and some seating.

On the other side of a dividing wall, which will be an Abo Ruin style, will be six computer stations.

“A whole lot of good thought has gone into this,” said Councilor Bill Brown. There’s six computer stations, librarian space, book shelves and reading nooks. It’s a good, initial start. Hopefully, we’ll be overwhelmed with usage and need to expand.”

Councilors Josh Ramsell and Jim Winters also said they liked the design.

“I’m glad it has a children’s section,” Ramsell said. “This maximizes our allotted space we have now.”

“We have a strict time limit, and we’ll let the new library board wrestle with the next version of this plan,” Winters said.

Ramsell and Gutjahr also praised the city’s staff, Lisa Adair, Gordon Reeves and Amy Lopez, for coming up with the design.

Gutjahr said a library board has not yet been appointed, and applications to volunteer was due by June 1. The board will then been announced sometime in July.

The council did not give a timeline of when the library construction will begin.

In other business during its April 28 meeting, the council:

• Approved the third-quarter financial report. Ramsell said the city is 45 percent of expenditures year to date, and the revenue sits at 94 percent.

• Approved joining the Public Employees Retirement Association.

• Unanimously approved the city’s travel policy, which mirrors that of the state’s policy.

• Approved an ongoing agreement with Valencia County for continuing of animal control services. According to the agreement, the city will pay the county $30 per hour worked per animal control officer, and the county will providing housing, veterinary care, food and water for animals if they were seized in the city or surrendered by a resident.

• Approved an intergovernmental services agreement with Valencia County for law enforcement protection. The city shall pay to the county $125,000 annually for the services. The cost includes $105,000 for the assigned deputy and $20,000 for coverage outside of the assigned deputy’s duty time.

“If we could afford another deputy sometime this year, the cost would be prorated,” Gutjahr said. “The sheriff’s office will be having four or five new deputies in August, but they would not be available for assignment until January or February.”

In other business during its May 12 meeting, the council:

• Approved a drainage master plan proposal, contingent on the freeing up capital outlay funding.

• Approved a pavement rehabilitation/improvement of city roads, contingent on the freeing up of capital outlay funding.

• Approved city health insurance benefits for employees, which will be an 80/20 percent split.

• Approved the resignation of municipal judge Heather Benavidez, who was appointed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to the Magistrate Division 1 bench.

• Approved appointing Noelle Chavez as the new Rio Communities municipal judge.

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Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.