At the November City Council meeting, Mayor Jim Collins proclaimed November as Hospice and Palliative Care month.

He asked the citizens of Las Animas to increase their understanding and awareness of hospice and palliative care available in our area. Collins recognized the two hospice facilities in the Lower Arkansas Valley. Representatives of Arkansas Valley Hospice and the Sangre de Christo Hospice were present to witness the signing of the proclamation.

In other news:

Richard Porterfield was presented a certificate for serving ten years as a volunteer driver for the “Meals On Wheels” program. Collins then asked the honored volunteer to lead the recitation of the Pledge of Alliance.

Sammie George, the newly hired Director of Bent County Economic Development Foundation, was introduced by the mayor.

City Clerk and Treasurer Charmaine Tripp presented the third draft of the 2019 City Budget with revisions. Ballot Issue C for additional sales tax on marijuana sales, failed to pass, but the city can collect the 3 percent city sales tax on recreational marijuana. Collins will appoint a committee to develop rules and regulations for the sale of pot in Las Animas, as approved by voters.

Greg Champney, code enforcement officer, reported approximately 21 cases he either resolved or on which he was working, involve weeds, trash in yards and unlicensed vehicles.

Rod Clodfelter, superintendent of Light and Power Board, submitted his monthly report. New electrical service was hooked up at 326 Fifth street. Trees were trimmed in alleys south of the tracks in October, and a new flag pole rope was installed at the nursing home. A new business was hooked up on Bent Avenue at the old NAPA store. There was a pole fire just north of the Ft Lyon Gate, Oct. 18. The system-wide electrical load has increased approximately 14.2 percent in 2018 over 2017.

Director of Public Works Kenneth Wagner reported a new water meter was installed for the Bus Barn located at Second and Poplar avenue. The annual sewer main cleaning began with one third of the city’s mains to be cleaned each year. The house at 137 East Fifth Street was demolished in October with homeowner’s consent. A permit to demolish the house at 711 Moore Avenue has been submitted to the state, and the structure should be taken down next month. City crews have been grading and basing the alleys due to the amount of rain last month. All park buildings and sprinkler systems were winterized in October.

Youth Advisor Steven Salazar, Jr. reported on high school activities including the FFA Dinner/Auction, Nov. 15.

City Council approved the renewal of Jerry’s Liquor Store License application. They also approved the Administrative Electric, Water, Sewer and Sanitation Utility Policies.

A resolution for weed abatement assessment roll and certification of same to the Bent County Treasurer was approved.

An appropriation Ordinance for money to defray expenses and liabilities for the City of Las Animas for 2019 in the amount of $9,557,319.00 was passed on the first reading.

The first reading of an ordinance establishing Las Animas as a Certified Local Government (CLG) with a Historic Preservation Board was announced.

The minutes of the Special Call meeting on Oct. 30 were approved. At that meeting, Wagner was instructed to purchase signs stating camping is prohibited in all City Parks and open spaces. To enforce the state statute on no camping, signs must be posted at all entrances to the Las Animas.

Also at the October Special Call meeting, Collins informed City Council he wants to create a community action center. He would like to locate the Center at City Hall in the space formerly used by the Las Animas Police Department. Collins stated the Center would be staffed by volunteers, and furniture for the Center was donated by the Otero County Courthouse.

Council approved a supplemental meal program in conjunction with School District for approximately 30 senior citizens per week at a cost of approximately $60.00 a week until the end of the school year. The Sage lunch program has been reduced to only Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday due to financial problems.

The mayor asked council to consider purchasing the former Roxannes/JC Penney Building and splitting the cost of the building with the County. The building has been empty for a number of years and the present owners are not interested in preserving the structure. A large hole in the building’s roof has created a home for pigeons. Bent County is presently paying for pigeon and wildlife control. A large broken plate glass window was recently replaced by the city and billed to the owners.

Collins announced a special meeting will be held Nov. 30 at 6 pm. Anyone wishing to serve on a committee to develop rules for the sale of marijuana within City limit is invited to attend.