Thursday, January 21, 2010

Council Gets Lobbyist For One Dollar

By John Larson

SOCORRO – With Mayor Dr. Ravi Bhasker absent and Councilor Donald Monette filling in as Mayor Pro Tem, the City Council decided Tuesday night to retain Michael Olguin and Associates as lobbyist for the City’s interests during the current legislative session in Santa Fe.
According to the resolution passed by the council, Olguin will be paid one dollar for the entire 30-day session.
In exchange for the compensation, stated the resolution, Olguin “will provide the City of Socorro with following services: government relations, lobbying before the New Mexico State Legislature and state agencies and bodies, and other government relations services…”
The resolution states that “all other expenses will be accrued by Michael Olguin and Associates other than those agreed to by both parties.”
Councilor Michael Olguin Jr., who presented the issue at the Jan. 4 City Council meeting, said the city is in need of representation at the legislature. “The City’s never gone this way before, having a lobbyist in Santa Fe,” he said.
Olguin said three people submitted bids, ranging from $1 to over $4,000.
“We went with the one dollar,” he said.
Monette said that “Mayor Bhasker was generally opposed to spending $5,000 on a lobbyist, but for one dollar we really have nothing to lose.”
The council voted unanimously to send Michael Olguin to Santa Fe.
In other business:
•The council approved a request by Dave Finley, Commander of the Socorro Civil Air Patrol, to provide hangar space at the airport for search and rescue units of the CAP. “Having a hangar will encourage the overnight keeping of airplanes,” Finley said. “In emergency exercises we can have people from all over state. When there is a search, maybe in the Gila, they will think of Socorro and our position in those efforts.” A city owned hangar will be leased to the Civil Air Patrol for a nominal fee, said City Clerk Pat Salome.
• The council passed an ordinance setting connection fees for the wastewater project on sections of Harold Drive, and Chaparral Drive. Initial fees for residences, both outside and within the city limits, will be $280 per connection if signed on during the first year. The fee rises to $1,000 for the following year for those outside the city limits. For customers within the city limits, the fee rises to $600 during the second year, and $1,000 in the third year. Monette said that “early public participation is the most important part. It would benefit people to sign on as soon as possible.” Mabel Gonzales said customers will be informed of their options in writing.

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