The Roswell City Council on Thursday approved the hiring of six new full-time employees to operate the animal shelter as required by the state without reducing the number of animals housed there.
Adding more staff will better ensure that the shelter complies with the New Mexico Board of Veterinary Medicine’s requirement that each housed animal receive a minimum of 15 minutes of care each day to ensure its health and his well-being, according to a report on the staffing of the shelter created by the municipal administration and the management of the shelters.
The report determined that without the additional employees, the shelter would have to significantly reduce the number of animals housed there. Up to 152 animals can be kept there, but current staff cannot manage more than 62 animals in the shelter at one time while meeting minimum state board requirements.
Five of these new employees would operate the shelter and the sixth would be an inside agent near the entrance to the shelter to help people who arrive to claim, leave or adopt pets.
The annual cost of hiring these employees has been estimated at approximately $325,000 from the City’s cash section of the General Fund. The first-year cost is expected to be closer to half that amount as the 2022-23 fiscal year, which began July 1, approaches halfway there, according to city councilors and staff.
Acting City Manager Mike Mathews said the hiring of new shelter staff may not happen until January or February because the city has not yet begun the process of creating job descriptions or posting of positions.
In public comments, Anna Edwards of Support Roswell Animals told advisers that she recently went to the animal shelter with a family member to adopt him, but an employee told her he wouldn’t. could not accommodate them and expressed dismay at the employee’s behavior.
Edwards also explained that it can be difficult to get to the shelter because it closes at 5 p.m.
Councilor Edward Heldenbrand has asked Nicole Rogers, director of animal services for the town, to adjust the shelter’s weekday hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. so that people who work until at 5 p.m. can more easily claim their animals.
Heldenbrand urged Rogers to change weekday hours as soon as possible.
A public meeting in August with animal advocates about the shelter prompted the staff report and a proposal that ultimately led members of the public safety and finance committees to recommend that the city add six more staff to the refuge.
In other cases, an article that offered to add up to 70 new labor housing units in exchange for the city donating land it owns in the 500 block of South Richardson Avenue was taken down by the person who requested it, Stephen Crozier, CEO and Founder of Tierra Realty Trust LLC.
City staff reported that Crozier decided to discontinue his pursuit of donating the city’s 2.4 acres after hearing feedback from J&G Electric’s Bruce Gwartney, although Crozier is still interested in the project.
Gwartney said he would like to purchase at least some of the land that was once the site of the Yucca Recreation Center. This building was declared unsafe before finally being demolished in 2018.
Residents who attended a town public forum Nov. 7 said they preferred Gwartney’s ideas. Ward 1 councilors Juan Oropesa and Cristina Arnold each asked for additional comments from ward residents.
After placing covered parking and landscaping in one section of the site, Gwartney said he is considering the remaining space for public use with benches, a community garden, basketball courts and, possibly, a building. community meeting.
He also offered to pay for at least some of the suggested improvements and maybe even a “small” building for community meetings.
Gwartney said he asked a few years ago if land was available for his business in the 500 block of South Main Street, but was told it was a site that would be better suited for a larger development.
Crozier still wants to use the site for up to 45 units. The remaining units would be on land at his disposal on East and West Alameda streets. The development is called Alameda Flats.
Crozier told staff he would instead wait for a request for proposals to come from the city regarding municipal property.
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