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New nonprofit group hopes to convince City Commission to continue leasing Aztec Municipal Golf Course

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FARMINGTON — The Farmington City Council will consider a resolution stating support for human life and opposition to abortion when it meets at 6 p.m. Oct. 8 at Farmington City Hall, 800 N. Municipal Drive.

The draft resolution, which can be found in the agenda packet at fmtn.org, starts by quoting the Declaration of Independence and then states that human life begins at conception and “continues, uninterrupted, until the moment of natural death.” It states that each human life is “unique, precious and worthy of fundamental protections.”

While the resolution was drafted after constituents reached out to Councilor Sean Sharer about declaring Farmington a “sanctuary city for the unborn,” the resolution touches on topics much broader than just abortion.

More: Farmington City Councilors express opposition to abortion, ask city to draft resolution

It states that 26.6 percent of children in San Juan County were considered food insecure in 2018 and that senior centers delivered more than 26,000 meals to home-bound seniors. It also mentions nearly 900 children who utilized services provided by Childhaven in 2018, as well as 165 children who were in foster care. The resolution also states 1,700 people utilized services like the Joint Intervention Program, sobering center and Totah Behavioral Health Authority.

More: PMS regional director: JIP provides savings to the community

The meeting will be streamed online at fmtn.org for people who are unable to attend.

Golf course returns to Aztec agenda

The Aztec City Commission will hear a presentation about the Aztec Municipal Golf Course during a work session at 5:15 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Aztec City Hall, 201 W. Chaco St.

More: Hodge proposes 501(c)(4) plan for golf course

A recently formed nonprofit organization called Hidden Valley of Aztec Inc. hopes to convince the city of Aztec to continue leasing the golf course and providing other services, including money to keep the course operating.

The City Commission voted unanimously in March not to renew the golf course lease agreement when it expires at the end of the year. That decision was made based on city finances, commissioners said.

More: Aztec golf course may close at the end of the year

Hidden Valley of Aztec is asking the City Commission to reconsider that decision. The organization states that it is partnering with Vista Nueva High School and plans to start a mentorship program utilizing the course. The mentorship program is intended to provide the students with job skills.

In a letter included in the agenda packet, Hidden Valley of Aztec requests that the city continue leasing the property, maintain the liquor license for the restaurant, provide continued use of water rights, continue marketing the course on its website and in other media, and provide other types of support, including capital projects.

The City Commission will hear the group’s arguments, but it cannot make a decision about continuing the lease of the golf course. The City Commission does not make decisions during work sessions and has not listed it on the agenda for the meeting that will follow at 6 p.m.

More: Cash crunch: Aztec looks for ways to cut spending

The city has leased the golf course since 2015, when it took over operations in an effort to keep the facility open. However, the city has struggled with finances over the past few years, and those issues led the City Commission to increase the gross receipts tax last year.

More: Aztec unanimously approves gross receipts tax increase

Because the golf course is located outside the city limits, the city government cannot receive gross receipts tax revenue from the course. That has limited any revenue potential the golf course could provide the city.

But Hidden Valley of Aztec representatives argue that the golf course is an icon.

“There are only a handful of businesses that have contributed to the Aztec community for five decades, and it is hard to place a value on a facility that has served the entire region for 53 years,” the nonprofit states in a letter included in the agenda packet.

The agenda packet also includes a letter of support from the Aztec Municipal School District Superintendent Kirk Carpenter, who highlighted the importance of the golf course to the Aztec High School golf team.

“When it comes to making money at a golf course, we know that is very difficult in a town our size, and any town for that matter, but one cannot measure what it does when it comes to adding a service to the overall community,” Carpenter states in the letter. “Dollars and cents cannot be the only measure when making this decision so I hope you will find a way to keep this recreational facility intact for the citizens of Aztec and San Juan County.”

Other meetings

The Kirtland Town Council will meet at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Kirtland Town Hall, 47 County Road 6500. Topics on the agenda include the upcoming census, an Eagle Scout project, awarding a contract for a town attorney and an update on the town park.

The Farmington Municipal School Board will meet at 5:15 p.m. Oct. 10 at 3401 E. 30th Street in Farmington. It will have a closed session at the end of the meeting to discuss pending litigation from parents of a student.

The Farmington Public Utility Commission will meet at 3 p.m. Oct. 9 at Farmington City Hall. It will have a closed session to discuss two lawsuits involving the Farmington Electric Utility System. The first of the lawsuits was filed by the city of Bloomfield, which hopes to acquire electric utility infrastructure from Farmington. The second lawsuit was filed by customers concerned about standby service riders for people with solar panels on their houses or businesses.

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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