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Meetings roundup: Legislative committee will discuss broadband infrastructure

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times

AZTEC — The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the lack of broadband infrastructure into the spotlight as students in New Mexico are taking classes in a distance learning environment.

For some students, especially in rural areas, accessing the distance learning classes can be a challenge because of non-existent or inadequate internet service.

Broadband connectivity and school prospects for distance learning is one of the agenda topics for the state Legislature’s interim Science, Technology and Telecommunications Committee meeting. The committee meets on Aug. 17 and 18 and the public can view this meeting online at nmlegis.gov.

Other agenda topics include the feasibility of developing high-speed broadband service statewide and developing lower-cost broadband infrastructure for New Mexico communities.

The interim legislative committees are learning about impacts of COVID-19 in various areas as legislators begin drafting bills that will be introduced in the 2021 legislative session.

The Investments and Pensions Oversight Committee will hear a presentation from the New Mexico Finance Authority about the Small Business Recovery Act of 2020 when it meets on Aug. 19.

Meanwhile, the Legislative Health and Human Services Committee will talk about long-term care facilities and COVID-19 when it meets on Aug. 21.

All the interim committee meetings can be viewed at nmlegis.gov.

Other meetings

• Carol Taulbee, the San Juan County Commission's Chief Deputy Treasurer, will propose waiving the $5 minimum penalty on delinquent property taxes at the next San Juan County Commission meeting, which starts at 4 p.m. Aug. 18.

Other action items include consideration to declare September 2020 as Recovery Awareness Month as part of ongoing efforts to expand mental health services.

Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant funding, which assists state, local and tribal efforts to prevent or reduce crime and violence, will also be discussed.

Gretchen Potter of the San Juan County New Mexico Mental Health Task Force and County Behavioral Health Services Director Su Hodgman, proposed the Recovery Awareness Month proclamation, while Undersheriff Cory Tanner will speak on JAG funding.

The County Commission meeting is streamed live on YouTube and instructions for public comment can be found at sjcounty.net/watch.

• The Farmington City Council will listen to a study on how to improve two water treatment plants in Farmington. The first water treatment plant is located at Navajo Street and Orchard Avenue, while the second is located at English Road and Bering Street.

Design plans will be introduced, aimed at extending the operational life of both plants by an additional 20 years.

The City Council will review a list of upcoming projects entering Fiscal Year 2021, picking at least five of the 12 proposed projects.

The proposed projects include extending Piñon Hills Boulevard East from NM Highway 516 South to County Road 3000. The goal with that particular project is to provide a key transportation link between northeast Farmington and Crouch Mesa, and to also reduce traffic congestion at Browning Parkway and East Main St.

The Farmington City Council work session will start at 9 a.m. Aug. 18 via Zoom. Contact the city clerk at 505-599-1101 or ajones@fmtn.org for the meeting passcode. More information can be found at fmtn.org.

• The Kirtland Town Councilmeets at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 18. More information can be found at kirtlandnm.org.

• The Central Consolidated School District Board of Education will have a regular meeting at 1 p.m. Aug. 18. The meeting will stream live on the district's Facebook page.

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

The Daily Times' Matt Hollinshead and Noel Lyn Smith contributed to this report.

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