A plaque was presented to Gordy Hicks in recognition and appreciation of 33 years of dedicated service at last week’s meeting.

“First of all, thank you for being a friend,” Mayor Bhasker said, and gave Hicks a hug.

“Yes sir, it’s been quite a ride,” Hicks responded.

Bhasker read a partial list of Hicks’ accomplishments since 1986, including serving on dozens of committees and as mayor pro-tem. He said the list of accomplishments was too long to fit on the plaque.

“I couldn’t have done it without you here, it was a team effort, and it was lots of fun,” Hicks said. “It’s been a good ride; the city of Socorro has treated me good. And you guys have just made it possible that we have gotten all these things done for the city of Socorro and that’s where I’m so proud of being a small part to that.”

He thanked the citizens, the city workers, mayor and council.

During public comment, Sandra Martinez talked about the 100 percent Socorro initiative, which is funded by the state legislature and focused on transforming communities into a place where every child thrives.

She said the idea is to connect the community to the ten vital services identified to survive and thrive. The plan is to create a family center in Socorro with a full-time staff.

Bhasker said that the city is expecting to inherit some buildings and there could be buildings available. Council Anton Salome invited them to the next budget meeting.

Will Carter, a Socorro resident, also spoke during public comment and said he had done some research about what other similar sized cities are doing about abandoned building issues in New Mexico. He said he has a report that lays out nine recommendations for smaller communities.

Bhasker said the main problem they have had with the vacant buildings is length of the due process. He gave the example of Sands Motel, which he said cost the city $180,000 and took three years. Currently, the city is dealing with five burned down buildings in town.

Bhasker suggested they schedule a meeting with Carter and include the city’s code enforcement.

In other business, Bhasker discussed the legislative session and, if signed by the governor, the city expects to get $ 2.5 million including funding Finley Gym, a sound system at the rodeo, landscape and move of the Camino Real monument, a matching grant for lights at Sedillo Park and funds to do a spec building at the Eagle Pitcher clean up site that they could potentially invite big companies to use.

The city has received authorization from the state highway department to turn into the convention center and the RV park from Highway 60.

The next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 5.

Jessica Carranza Pino, Editor