Aztec mayor requests adding fines for using cell phones while driving

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FARMINGTON — The Bloomfield City Council will discuss the future of the Bloomfield Fire Department when it meets at 6 p.m. July 8 at Bloomfield City Hall, 915 N. 1st St.

Fire Chief John Mohler has encouraged the city to combine the Bloomfield Fire Department with San Juan County Fire Department because it is struggling to meet the city’s needs.

The city could contract with San Juan County Fire Department. Mohler has already taken a job at the county fire department as deputy fire chief.

The city fire department had relied on grant funding to pay firefighters’ salaries. That grant funding ran out in 2016, leaving the city with three paid firefighters. The rest of the department is volunteer-based.

A memo Mohler sent last year to former city manager Eric Strahl stated that the city’s fire department had reached a tipping point where it would no longer be able to respond to medical calls unless more firefighters were hired.

When the grant funding expired, city residents voted in favor of increasing gross receipts tax. This increased tax rate was initially billed as a way to keep paying for firefighters. However, the city was struggling with finances at the time and the increased revenue did not go to paying firefighter salary. Instead the revenue went to the city’s general fund.

Aztec considers fines for using a cell phone while driving

The Aztec City Commission will discuss amending the City Code to include penalties and fines for driving while using a handheld mobile device such as a cell phone. That includes texting and talking on the phone.

This change to the City Code was requested by Aztec Mayor Victor Snover.

The agenda packet states the total fine for a first offense would be $105 and that fine would increase with subsequent violations.

Aztec City Commission meets at 6 p.m. July 9 at Aztec City Hall, 201 W. Chaco St.

Prior to its 6 p.m. meeting, the commission will have a work session at 5:15 p.m. to discuss the Youth Conservation Corps’ annual projects.

Farmington City Council will also meet at 6 p.m. July 9. It will discuss a liquor license for Lauter Haus Brewing Co., a new brewery located on 20th Street. The City Council meets at Farmington City Hall, 800 N. Municipal Drive.

Monthly work session for CCSD

The Central Consolidated School District Board of Education will have a work session at 4:30 p.m. on July 11 at the Shiprock Board Room in Shiprock.

An agenda for the work session was not available on Friday.

Reporter Noel Lyn Smith contributed to this report.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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