Questions and Answers At Velarde Town Hall Meeting

Commissioner Barney Trujillo held a town hall meeting in Velarde Tuesday. Valley Daily Post image

Questions and Answers At Velarde Town Hall Meeting

By Robert A. Naranjo

VELARDE – A well-attended crowd of Velarde residents and Rio Arriba County officials exchanged questions and answers at the Velarde Town Hall meeting held by County Commissioner Barney Trujillo at the new Velarde Community Center located near the post office. The exchanges between officials and residents was civil, and for the most part, informative.  Elected officials attending were Commissioner Barney Trujillo who moderated the meeting, County Commissioner Alex Naranjo, County Treasurer Agapito Candelaria, County Assessor Levi Valdez, and Sheriff James Lujan. County staff, from various departments, was also in attendance to answer questions.

Commissioner Trujillo spent time at the outset of the meeting to discuss a proposed lunch meal program for seniors beginning in two weeks, placing the start of the lunch meals for seniors in Velarde in mid-October.  The audience was informed that during the trial period of 9O days, there must be an average of 2O-3O seniors having meals there on the days meals are prepared. A federal Non-Metro Senior Committee on Aging requires this. Commissioner Trujillo answered a follow-up question on how area seniors would be alerted to the noon meal program at the Velarde Community Center. Trujillo said that it would be on the County’s website, advertised on the radio, and other media to get the word out to seniors.

Some discussion ensued on several subjects relating to the lunch meals for seniors program.  Will the cook for the senior center be from Velarde? This query was prompted by the announcement that for the senior lunch test trial period, a cook will come in from Dixon. Trujillo quickly said that a cook, if senior participants eating lunch there average 2O-3O per day in the test trial, a cook would be selected from within the Velarde community.

One issue that surfaced during the proposed senior lunch program at the Velarde Senior Center was use of the Center as a commercial kitchen. The audience was informed that it was not allowed to have a commercial kitchen where meals are prepared. It’s one or the other, “that’s why there’s a lock on the door of the kitchen in Chimayo,” Commissioner Trujillo, said.

A question on transportation for seniors had Commissioner Trujillo call on Dennis Tim Salazar, with County senior services to explain transportation available for seniors.  “Seniors have transportation right now for outings,”  Salazar stated.  He added that Rio Arriba seniors were able to go to “Senior Day” at the New Mexico State Fair.  Furthermore, the audience was informed that seniors from Velarde have transportation available to Alcalde or Dixon for lunch meals if so desired.

The audience was informed that there is a park planned for Velarde, “where the baseball fields are now,” County staffer Jon Paul Romero told the audience. A rendering of the land showing the current baseball fields was used to show the audience what land would be used for the park.  One audience member reminded Romero that they would need to sink a well to service a park.  Another area resident asked if there would be playground equipment and Trujillo said not as extensive as in Chimayo but there would be some.

And one audience member, Marie Martinez, stated that maybe “wider sidewalks” would be better than a park.  Commissioner Trujillo suggested forming a committee to advise the County on issues affecting Velarde” and Martinez said she would gladly be part of such a committee.


Marie Martinez. Valley Daily Post image