Mario Amaro, Socorro fire department captain was recognized by the city for his 25 years of dedicated service.

A proposal for the Smith building, a complaint about a shooting range, an apology and a thank you, were all heard during the public comment portion of the city meeting last week.

John Walker shared during public comment that he had proposals for alternative uses of the vacant Smith’s building, such as using it as community center, to house EMS and to use it as an emergency shelter. He said that he has come up with numbers of how the facility could be powered with solar.

Mayor Bhasker invited Walker to meet with him the next day to discuss it. Bhasker said they discovered that the Smith’s building has been purchased by a cannabis company called Ultra and he has communicated with owner, Duke Rodriguez.

Daun Medaris, from the Forget Me Not Veterans Center, thanked the mayor for his continued support and with the donation of the ten-seater van. He said they are now able to transport veterans to VA services twice a week.

He reported to the city that they have six homes at their Forget Me Not Park, and plan to have a dozen by the end of the year. Medaris said that someone has approached them about donating 160 acres which would give them the potential to expand.

Bhasker invited Medaris to present in front of the budget committee with any needs that the city could financially support.

“When we get people like yourself that are actually doing it, I think that we’d be more than happy to jump in and financially help,” Bhasker said.

Jerrid Williams, Communications for SEC, offered a prepared apology to the mayor and city council for his posts on his personal social media accounts.

“I’m passionate and committed to my work,” Williams said. “I have let my emotions get the best of me online and I look forward to communicating the SEC’s perspective on the issues at hand in a professional manner moving forward, so I do apologize.”

Williams invited the mayor, council and co-op members to attend a special SEC board meeting with Guzman Energy, scheduled for January 16 at 2 p.m.

The last person to speak during public comment was Greg Miller, who requested that the city consider an ordinance to stop the use of the firing range that operates north of Florida Street, due to environmental and other liability reasons.

Miller said his house is the closest house to the gun range and he can hear a barrage of gunfire late at night and early in the morning. He said that he’s supportive of the police training but is concerned having a gun range so close to city limits that goes against city zoning.

During the meeting, the city council and mayor recognized long time employee, Mario Amaro, Socorro Fire Department Captain, who was presented with a plaque in recognition of his 25- years of dedicated service.

“It was a good 25 years; we came up together (Lawrence Baca). He became chief and I was captain, we got pretty close,” said Amaro. “Thank you, guys, for everything and especially thanks to my family, my older kids, they put up with a lot with me being at work.”

In other business, Antonio Gonzales, an ex-police officer, will fill a new police position as a security officer who will patrol and check in with businesses in Socorro from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. and alert the police of any criminal activity.

Bhasker said he hopes it will help with the issues of vending machines getting broken into, hold ups, the harassment of hotel workers and other issues that are happening at night.

The city approved $20,000 in scholarships for students to enroll in an Esports certificate program. The proposal from Ecliptix Gaming states that program is for students from sixth to 12th grade. They offer multiple career-based courses, which give students the opportunity to learn skills that are vital for the rapidly expanding Esports industry.

The next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Feb. 20.

Jessica Carranza Pino, Editor