Bayard residents rally to support auto shop – Silvercity Daily Press

Written by

Nickolas Seibel September 13, 2022



(Press team photo by Jo Lutz)
Bayard Mayor Chon Fierro proclaims September Little League Copper Month during Monday night’s city council meeting, surrounded by members of the men’s senior league team.

By JO LUTZ
Daily press staff
Bayard City Council honored the community’s tournament champion baseball teams on Monday evening before discussing public projects, employee compensation and ongoing concerns about city ordinances, including those of M&M Auto, whose business license was recently suspended by the city.
Mayor Chon Fierro opened the meeting at 6 p.m. with all councilors present at the Bayard Community Center, which was packed with high school athletes and their supporters, who cheered the proclamation of September as Little League Copper Month. The senior boys and senior girls teams of the Copper Little League posed for photos with the council.
During public comments, several residents complained about last week’s fire at an abandoned house, which they say is causing neighbors concern not only because of the smoke damage, but also because of the water and potential mold that could threaten their health.
A handful of residents also showed up to support Matthew Valenzuela of M&M Auto, whose business license was withheld by the city pending redress for various ordinance violations. He was described as a hardworking man who helped people in his community by delivering food and assisting customers at low cost. One woman expressed concern that the denial of the license represented hostile business practices that would drive businesses out of Bayard.
Valenzuela himself has come forward, complaining about unreturned phone calls and inquiring about the status of his business license. The council told him that if their conditions were met, he should file the appropriate paperwork at City Hall so they could be reviewed.
During their reports, Pro Tem Mayor Raul Villanueva and other councilors recognized residents who showed their support for Valenzuela and M&M Auto.
“The decision wasn’t made overnight,” councilman Jose Diaz said. “He can reapply once the criteria are met.”
“I agree he’s a good person,” Villanueva said. “We just have rules that we have to follow. We need business in Bayard, we need embellishment, we need a lot in Bayard. And we have to work together to make it happen.
As part of new business, advisers explored a reimbursement program for volunteer firefighters and EMS providers. The amount of the stipend is unknown until the funding is actually secured, City Clerk-Treasurer Kristina Ortiz said, adding that a requirement for securing this funding is to have a policy in place to distribute the refund. . She provided a draft policy based on that of other cities that use the pay-per-call program.
The board unanimously approved the required 10% matching funds for Colonias Grants for Water and Sewer Projects, and approved a request to the NM Department of Transportation requesting an extension of time to allow Bayard to complete a pavement rehabilitation project by December 31, 2023, rather than the end of this year. Ortiz said Southwest Concrete and Paving is ready to begin work as soon as the expansion is approved.
They also approved a recategorization of paid leave that would provide back pay to city employees who had taken COVID-related leave before an earlier rule change.
The council seemed very pleased to approve a notice of intent to pass a new ordinance regarding registration and maintenance of vacant and derelict public structures, based on the one that has been used successfully in Santa Clara. Councilor Frances Gonzales thanked Ortiz and her staff for preparing the draft document, which staff will review again for compliance before making it available for a 14-day public comment period.
“It strongly affects Bayard’s appearance,” she said.

“The ordinance will really help people who need neighbors to spruce up their property,” Villanueva said. “It will give us good advice on what we can and cannot do.”

Alejandro L. Myatt