BLOOMFIELD — The Bloomfield City Council met this week to vote on a proposed property annexation that would more than double the size of the city, but chose to delay any discussion or vote for two weeks.
The Monday decision to table the vote was to allow added time for affected and interested parties to gather information or provide comment.
"Several of the refineries have asked for an extension of time," City Manager David Fuqua said. "Initially, we gave two weeks and we had some discussion about that. They feel like if they were given a full 30 days, they could digest the information they were trying to gather and present it in a better format and make it more understandable. There's nothing in the statute that says it has to be 30 days, but, in order to be fair, the council wants to give everybody enough time, so I recommend that we extend it."
At the next meeting, on Dec. 23, the council will hear presentations from some of the affected companies and take public comment before it calls a vote on the annexation petition, Fuqua said.
"I would like to apologize (about removing annexation from the agenda). We'll do it again in two weeks," Fuqua said. "This was a last minute decision."
In the proposed 6,775 acre annexation, which is northeast and northwest of the current city boundaries, there are eight private residences and six gas plants or refineries and businesses. Those include Enterprise, ConocoPhilips, Williams, Kinder Morgan, Transwestern and XTO Energy. Representatives from ConocoPhilips and Kinder Morgan attended Monday's meeting but did not speak.
Mayor Scott Eckstein asked Fuqua about the time line, should councilors vote in favor of annexation.
"Once the council says move forward with annexation, we will file a petition with the Municipal Boundary Commission," Fuqua said, adding that the vote would start an approximately 90-day period during which the annexation would have to be advertised.
Eckstein said after the meeting adjourned that he would abstain from all voting on the issue because of a conflict of interest presented by his dual role of Bloomfield mayor and San Juan County Commission chairman.
"I've always said that if there was ever a conflict between my being mayor and on the county commission, I would abstain from voting," Eckstein said. "And this is the first time in the five years I've served on the commission. But I will be involved and keep informed. But I won't be casting a vote."
Eckstein assured those who came out on a cold night to council chambers that they would have another chance to speak when and if the item returns to the council agenda.
"If there's anybody here tonight, who would like to approach the council (on the annexation issue), I will offer you that time," Eckstein said. "You will have that opportunity in two weeks."