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FARMINGTON — Aztec residents will have a chance to select three City Commissioners during the elections Tuesday.

The candidates are running in three districts, but residents can vote in all district races.

District 2

Rosalyn A. Fry

Occupation: Retired from ECHO as housing director, Working part time as loan originator with Key Mortgage Group

Previous political experience: None

What do you hope to accomplish if you are elected?

I look forward to being a voice on a new Commission to evaluate opportunities for economic diversification that will bring new sources of revenue into the City of Aztec.  Support for new business ventures and support to entrepreneurs can be provided through the Aztec HUB, our business incubation facility. A competent manager for the HUB is vital to success.  I’ve been doing research to understand co-working spaces and incubation facilities to understand successful models that could work for Aztec. When we receive the completed plan for the Metropolitan Redevelopment Area, the Commission can determine which recommendations fit for the City of Aztec and proceed with those ideas that can truly benefit the community and need for economic development.

I also want to be a part of the conversation regarding the need for increased community involvement that will include attending Commission meetings and offering suggestions to invigorate our local economy. Citizens can volunteer for advisory boards and increase their awareness of issues the city faces. Input from the community is vital, and we need more citizens participating in local government. I would like to help reverse the downward decline of volunteerism so that special events can take place. There are also volunteer opportunities at the Senior Center, Animal Control Department, the Museum, and so many other places that can benefit from community involvement. 

It is my goal to highlight Aztec’s historical, natural, and cultural resources. We can then create new economic opportunities while preserving Aztec’s small town character. I’ll work toward making sure that Aztec will be a proud, thriving, small community that provides fellowship and engagement for residents, economic security for business and a place where visitors will come again and again to enjoy.   

 What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the city?

The economic downturn in the State as well as the City of Aztec presents issues affected by reduced revenue. Being a good steward of public money to manage the city and continue to provide required quality city services will be the challenge. Working to build our economy and look for opportunities to bring new businesses into Aztec will be important work for the new Commission. I also want to support the Aztec city employees and make sure positions needed by the city are filled and wages paid are competitive. Our employees carry a great responsibility to implement projects and provide services. Support for them is vital!    

Aztec is currently working on a Metropolitan Redevelopment Area plan. What challenges do you see with revitalizing the downtown and how would you address those challenges?

The consultants reviewing data gathered on the Main Street of Aztec and the adjoining neighborhoods should have the plan ready for review by citizens and Commission in April. There are many exciting ideas concerning this plan. Considerations for changes on Main Street have been going on for many years. The completion of the Arterial Route looms over the plans for downtown Aztec. The need to divert truck traffic is important to many of the recommendations made for the MRA. I look forward to obtaining as much information as possible to determine moving forward on this important project. A recent tour of the arterial route area revealing geographic challenges was very enlightening.  I will continue to gather all the information available as we consider adoption of the MRA plan.

The North Main project connecting downtown to the Ruins should be completed in 2018 and this will add a new feature to the downtown connection to the Aztec Ruins. The older historic buildings remain a serious challenge to bringing new business to downtown. To revitalize those historic units and bring them up to code will be costly. Reviewing the recommendations for the MRA and gathering additional facts and community input will be essential to move forward on revitalization of our historic downtown area.  

Joel T. Barton

Occupation: Aztec High School teacher

Previous political experience: I have a BA degree in Political Science (served as an intern for a full session at The State of Colorado Legislature as part of my degree requirement). I have no experience as far as being an elected official but I have made formal requests, presented educational programs and interacted with outside independent and state government agencies as an educator. Some of these being the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, New Mexico Children, Youth, and Family Department, the Aztec School Board, and NMPED (New Mexico Public Education Department) to name a few.

What do you hope to accomplish if you are elected?

I would truly like to represent the best interests of city and the people who live here. Whether it be environmental, social or economic, the biggest accomplishment for me would be to govern in a manner that best meets the needs of our town and its citizens.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the city?

The biggest challenges facing the city are how do we continue to maintain our small city (community) charm and at the same time develop economically. Not only are economic issues felt in small communities like Aztec but they are being felt regionally when it comes to the energy industry. As citizens of Aztec we feel this impact greatly because when jobs leave the region so do families and people (they go where the jobs are). As a result, the city receives less revenue having an effect on capital improvement plans that are needed to improve outdated and dilapidated infrastructure and making it tougher to attract new investment for economic growth. So one of the biggest challenges is how do we bring economic diversity to Aztec for sustainability and growth. I believe our current city commission has already taken steps to try and improve the city’s economy but it is an ongoing and continuous entity.

Aztec is currently working on a Metropolitan Redevelopment Area plan. What challenges do you see with revitalizing the downtown and how would you address those challenges?

I believe the challenges with the MRA are attracting new small businesses to startup and invest in the downtown area without threatening the success of current businesses already operating there. The current commission has hired a consulting firm to do a study on the best way to approach revitalization efforts. They held a two day workshop in January asking for input from current private businesses and the public, and I believe the public can still submit a survey found on the city web site which is being used for part of the development plan. In April, the city is supposed to receive a MRA report that suggests best practices for moving forward on the revitalization of the downtown area. Additionally, as we move forward I think we need to reach out to current business owners in the community and use them as a resource for what they would see as being the positives and negatives to redevelopment of the downtown area.

District 4

Victor Snover

Occupation: Aztec High School Army JROTC instructor

Previous political experience: Currently the San Juan Democratic Party Ward 3 chairperson (elected April 2017)

What do you hope to accomplish if you are elected?

I hope to play an instrumental role in working with local businesses and nonprofit organizations to find projects and start initiatives that shine a positive light on our downtown businesses and outdoor spaces. Funding and staffing our Aztec City HUB Business Incubator and adopting plans for our potential Metropolitan Redevelopment Area designation, and equal importance, completing the 550 Arterial Route to greatly reduce the amount of heavy truck traffic driving through our downtown area.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the city?

Our biggest challenges are gaining and keeping the support and trust of our city residents and cracking the code on how to attract and keep businesses on Main Avenue. Reductions in oil and gas revenues have left us with tighter budgets and fewer resources which, in turn, will force us to become more creative and find ways to inspire volunteerism and collaboration to accomplish our projects and goals.

Aztec is currently working on a Metropolitan Redevelopment Area plan. What challenges do you see with revitalizing the downtown and how would you address those challenges?

Ensuring the funding and completion of the Arterial Route to divert heavy truck traffic away from our downtown. Making the downtown area pedestrian and bicycle friendly and connecting our North Main part of town with Aztec Ruins National Monument, drawing visitors from the monument into downtown. Additionally, working on solutions and working with building owners to get new tenants into vacant building spaces, or partnering with existing businesses to help complimentary businesses to work together for shared success.

District 5

Mark E. Lewis

Occupation: Case manager 

Previous political experience: First-time candidate.

What do you hope to accomplish if you are elected?

I would like to help develop a long-term and comprehensive plan for water management. This would involve not only water use, but also drainage and flooding issues facing several areas of the city.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the city?

While the city has several large projects in various stages of completion, perhaps one issue the city will most likely face in the near future is water shortage. Despite some snow recently, the runoff forecast for the area is not rosy. Aztec has limited water storage and depends on the Animas for its drinking water. City residents may well face water restrictions this year. 

As climates shift, this will undoubtedly become one which lingers from year to year and must be addressed.

The arterial route to remove heavy trucks from Main Avenue should also be addressed. But in doing so, the city should not focus solely on that single project, but rather to be sure to balance it with other infrastructure needs.

Lastly, the city has been trying to do what it can on less revenue. As a commissioner, my job would be to look at balancing the needs of the city and its citizens with the amount of money coming in. 

This will no easy task and part of this would certainly entail collaborating with economic development agencies throughout the area to encourage new entrepreneurial growth as well as supporting already existing businesses.

Aztec is currently working on a Metropolitan Redevelopment Area plan. What challenges do you see with revitalizing the downtown and how would you address those challenges?

Revitalizing downtown would require a domino effect. 

The first challenge would be to complete the arterial route, helping to remove heavy truck traffic from Main Avenue.

That is the first domino. That would lead to the second, which would be to slow traffic along Main Avenue and make walking in downtown safer and more visitor friendly.

One challenge that is a part of revitalization is vacant buildings now in the downtown area. Some need some sprucing up, others might need more than a bit of sprucing. All impact how downtown is perceived. One option would be to consider a vacant building tax. That would encourage building owners to renovate or make improvements necessary to get the vacancies filled. 

Clustering of businesses on Main Avenue would be a catalyst, creating a situation where visitor and residents alike could visit multiple businesses and shops while strolling along the avenue. 

As seen in other communities, creating a shopping experience like this encourages increased foot traffic, meaning more business for the business owner and additional tax revenues for the city.

Sheri Rogers      

Occupation: Retired

Previous political experience: Current Aztec Commissioner District 5 (4 years)

What do you hope to accomplish if you are elected?

I would like to see the completion of the East Arterial Route and the North Main Extension in the next term. I think those, along with the MRA project, will help accelerate tourism in Aztec and benefit everyone. I also think it will be critical when selecting a new city manager to ensure that he/she will be committed to working in harmony with our commission, staff and citizens to maintain the sense of community while at the same time keep us moving forward. 

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the city?

It is well known that with the declining support of the use of fossil fuels, Aztec, along with our entire state, is in need of improving economic diversity. The HUB will be a great start and the Economic Development Advisory Board works hard to come up with new ideas to explore. The Four Corners Economic Development agency is another way this region is showing its commitment to finding diverse ways to improve our local economy.  Finding ways to implement those ideas will be critical to developing that diversity.

Aztec is currently working on a Metropolitan Redevelopment Area plan. What challenges do you see with revitalizing the downtown and how would you address those challenges?

Finding ways to finance growth and improvement have always been the challenge. The MRA will be important in opening doors for business owners and the city to find grants and financing opportunities that can help revitalize downtown and help current and future businesses be successful.  I would like to have someone on staff that has been trained and can work with interested parties to look for those opportunities.

 

 

 


 

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