City Council’s finance committee advocates police attorney position

January 9, 2013 • Local News

City Council’s finance committee met Wednesday to firm up recommendations for tonight’s council meeting, which will address hot topics concerning the city’s budget, such as how to fund the Police Department’s request for its own attorney and Lodgers Tax funds for this year’s UFO Festival.

Councilor Steve Henderson chairs the committee and councilors Art Sandoval and Jimmy Craig are members. Councilors Jeanine Best, Savino Sanchez, Jason Perry and Dusty Huckabee also attended the meeting, as did Mayor Del Jurney, Police Chief Al Solis and Deputy Chief Brad McFadin.

At a council workshop last week, it was determined that the finance committee would decide whether the police attorney position would be a contract position or a city employee position.

The position would require a budget adjustment for the city’s budget and cost an [auth] estimated $42,196.56, for a six-month period. It also is estimated that the cost for a contract position would be similar.

Sandoval and Craig expressed their opposition to the police attorney position. However, while Craig said he was not convinced that the city needs a police attorney, “I think the police department is convinced.”

He said the original proposal suggested cutting some police officer positions to afford an attorney. “I still think the police officers are more important than the attorney position,” he said.

Eventually, the committee voted 2-1 to recommend that council approve an attorney on a contract basis to be funded out of the police department’s budget, rather than the city’s.

The committee voted unanimously to recommend that council also approve a commitment of Lodgers Tax funds for the 2013 UFO Festival to MainStreet Roswell, which organized the 2012 event. Last year, the group received $50,000 of Lodgers Tax funding. If approved by council, the group would receive $65,700 for this year’s festival.

In addition to MainStreet Roswell, the city also received applications from Greg Neal and Barbara Gomez.

In the future, Henderson said the city should put out an RFP with specifications as far as what it would like the festival to feature.

Neal, who served as co-chair of the 2011 event, volunteered to help establish standards for RFPs for the festival, saying there needed to be more structure.

He also said the city should do more to enforce contracts made with organizations. According to him, MainStreet Roswell still had not submitted financial information for either last year’s UFO Festival or the Fiddle and Griddle Festival held in June.

The contracts for both events stipulated that the organization had to provide the city with financial details within 30 days of the last day of both events.

Councilor Huckabee, who also serves as director of MainStreet Roswell, said the organization had submitted financial details for the UFO Festival and will submit details for the Fiddle and Griddle Festival next week.

City Manager Larry Fry confirmed that the city received financial information from MainStreet Roswell in October. When the city enters into a contract with an organization for an event, he said it does follow up accordingly to ensure the information is received.

City Council will meet, 7 p.m., tonight at City Hall, 425 N. Richardson Ave.

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