Presidio City to finance $100,000 for baseball field lighting
By MARIA ELVIRA HERMOSILLO
PRESIDIO – Of major importance on the agenda at last week’s City Council meeting was the consideration to obtain a new, state-of-the-art lighting system for the baseball field at the Presidio Sports Complex.
Council members discussed the possibility of entering into a financial agreement with Musco Sports Lighting by financing $100,000 for the upfront cost of the endeavor.
City administrator Marco Baeza opened the discussion by stating that although a high-end lighting system would be ideal, the city currently does not have the money to pay for it.
“I don’t believe we have the funds available,” Baeza said.
He continued by saying that the only way to afford it would be to finance the purchase. At that moment Presidio ISD School board President Carlos Nieto stood up to persuade the council about why obtaining a loan in the amount of $100,000 to cover the cost would be worth the investment.
Nieto began by describing that Musco is a leading-edge lighting company specializing in sports complexes, known for lighting major stadiums. He continued by explaining that although the product is expensive, compromising quality with a less expensive system would cost a lot more over time.
“When you project this to 25 years, the maintenance pays for itself,” said Nieto. Musco lights are electronically controlled and are supposed to require fewer repairs.
Nieto then informed the council that he and Mayor Lorenzo Hernandez had already spoken to the president of Big Bend Banks in Marfa and that he had said financing the amount would be no problem.
But according to city accountant Andy Welborn, right now is not the best time to make financial decisions.
“We’re at the end of the budget process,” said Welborn. “Things are pretty tight right now.”
Despite Welborn’s hesitation, the council went ahead and approved the motion to continue with the financing process.
Mayor Hernandez concluded by saying that a renovated baseball field will be of great benefit to the youth of Presidio.
“As a parent, I think it’s a good idea because of the lack of activities in Presidio,” said Hernandez.
Also of importance on the agenda but with less discussion was the mayor’s nomination of a new mayor pro-tem. The previous nominee, council member Butch Acosta, was replaced by a fellow council member.
“Since January 1, Mr. Acosta has attended one of 13 meetings,” explained Mayor Hernandez. “Due to Mr. Acosta’s lack of interest, I recommend Obed Escontrias as mayor pro-tem.”
Council member Escontrias accepted the nomination, and the council approved the motion.
Hernandez is expected to resign as mayor by year’s end. He defeated current Presidio County Commissioner Carlos Armendariz in a Democratic Party primary runoff election in July, and with no Republican Party challenger in the November general election, will take county office in January 2013. Interestingly, the other candidate in that race was city council member Acosta, who finished in third place.
After the expected resignation of Hernandez, the council has the option of appointing a mayor until the May 2013 city election, or keeping the vacancy open until then, and allowing Escontrias to preside at city meetings and conducting other mayoral duties as the mayor pro tem.
Other city business included the discussion of regulating the placement of address numbers on residential and commercial buildings for EMS purposes.
“We need to educate people to put their numbers on their houses because the ambulance has trouble finding people’s homes,” said council member Escontrias.
But before a city ordinance can be passed, the city must first issue official address numbers correctly. Some homes currently have two numbers because the Rio Grande Council of Governments first adopted addresses and then the city began changing them to match water meter locations.
Council members Rafael Carrera and Edgar Sotelo admitted to having this problem.
“My house has two addresses,” said Carrera. “Mine, too,” added Sotelo.
City administrator Baeza suggested having the 911 coordinator come and sort things out before starting an informational campaign to alert citizens of the upcoming regulation. He also pointed out that a change of address impacts such things as voter registration and credit reports, therefore he decided the item needs further discussion before making a decision.