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Council approves ratified police contract

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By Jason Brooks

Wednesday's Las Vegas City Council meeting featured many lengthy discussions that didn't lead to meaningful outcomes. However, one action item on the agenda produced audible sighs of exasperated relief.

The Council unanimously approved a contract that includes a 50-cents -per-hour raise in both April, and again in August, for all hourly employees of the Las Vegas Police Department. The contract between the city and the union — the Fraternal Order of Police's Meadow City Lodge No. 20 — took nearly one year of off-and-on negotiations to complete, and runs through June 30, 2020.

The city also heard from the firm of Axiom CPA and Business Advisors, LLC, regarding presentation of the city's annual audit. The city had zero findings on the audit, which covers the fiscal year that runs from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, making it one of only three among 35 governments audited by the firm that had such a stellar mark.

In other action Wednesday, the Council:

• Heard a report on street repair, especially regarding potholes. A particularly harsh winter has led to the much-anticiapted availability of "hot mix" supplies, which began this week, so pothole repairs are expected to pick up considerably this month. 

Councilor Vince Howell said he'd like to hear more regular details about street repair plans and follow-through. He also encouraged administrators to use the city's website and social media to let the public know exactly which streets are next up for minor repairs. 

• Heard from Recreation Manager Sonia Gomez about upcoming planned repairs to the roof of the Abe Montoya Rec Center, which was damaged by hail in 2017. Gomez said the closure that starts April 4 will only affect the basketball gyms and racquetball facility, but a repair phase that begins later will lead to a temporary closure of the entire building. It isn't known how exactly long the closure will last; Highlands University and Robertson High School will accomadate some city programs in ways to be announced in detail soon. 
• Met as the Las Vegas Housing Board and heard about a variety of items, but took no major action.

There were 57 people on the waiting list for HUD housing in Las Vegas, as of Feb. 28; Gallegos will follow up in contacting HUD to find out when its special audit of the Las Vegas Housing Authority will be completed and released; there was relatively minor damage to to local housing projects in the March 13 wind storm and the LVHA was named the Outstanding Industry Champion by Smoke Free New Mexico.

• Recognized 2018-19 state-qualifying wrestlers from West Las Vegas and Robertson high schools.

• Heard a monthly report from Animal Welfare Society of Northeastern New Mexico President Marshall Poole. He said there were 77 dogs taken into the AWS shelter in February and 70 of those dogs had no kind of identification. He encouraged all cat and dog owners to have their animals spayed or neutered.

• Heard a detailed report from Utilities Director on a variety of topics, including the final stages of the Bradner Dam projecta and the return to online status of the Cabin Site tank, which helps aid in citywide water pressure. More about Gilvarry's report will be featured in an upcoming Optic story.