Peralta town officials are vying for two seats on the VRECC board

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Peralta officials seemed satisfied with a response to be a part of the Valencia Regional Emergency Communications Center Board at the Aug. 16 meeting.

Town officials submitted a letter to the board's director, Shirley Valdez, and asked board members to amend an agreement between each municipality to include the town of Peralta.

Peralta has not had representation on the board since the town was unincorporated in 2007.

Peralta Mayor Bryan Olguin asked the board to amend the agreement so that Peralta has two seats on the board and be billed from the communications center rather than the village of Bosque Farms.

The town of Peralta has been paying for calls for emergency service through the village of Bosque Farms.

"Basically, (the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration) said (the town) shouldn't be paying (the invoice) through Bosque Farms," Olguin said. "That's not the way it should be working. (DFA said the town) should be getting a bill from the (Valencia Regional Emergency Communications Center)."

Gayle Jones, clerk/administrator for the village of Bosque Farms, said Peralta would have two seats if the agreement is amended through all of the municipalities.

She said the current agreement says the two seats must be paid employees of the town. That agreement can be re-written.

"I don't know how Peralta wants to proceed with that," Jones said. "But it was never our intent to keep Peralta from having members on the board."

Jones said officials should follow suit with other municipalities and appoint someone who does not belong to the fire department.

"I will just say it," Jones said. "If you were to say, appoint the fire chief, it would open up a whole can of worms. I can tell you that right now, no other fire department — county or municipal — has a sitting member on this board."

According to Valdez, the board is made up of police department representatives and city clerks to ensure that each municipality takes financial responsibility for being a part of the group.

Valdez said while funding to be on the board ultimately comes out of each municipality's general fund, law enforcement departments must commit a portion of their budget to pay for their seats. Local fire departments don't currently pay the communications center.

Olguin said those stipulations don't "fit" the town since Peralta's paid staff is limited.

"I understand the reason of the whole board," Olguin said. "But I think we should put the best qualified person from each entity onto this board.

"I feel that you put the best person who is going to have the voice for you ― for the citizens of our town," he said. "I'm not going to fight over that. But that's what the whole thing is ― public safety."

Jones said there needs to be some sort of agreement to determine how much of the center's capital debt Peralta will be responsible for in the future. Olguin said he would agree to a pro-rated rate.

Town officials said they would wait until the agreement is modified before making any future payments.

Olguin said he wants to be properly represented on the board.

"That's all we want is to put it on the table and pay our fair share," Olguin said.

A meeting to discuss amending the agreement and to discuss capital debt will be scheduled in late October.


-- Email the author at bruffner@news-bulletin.com.