On Jan. 10, Finance Director Karen Shannon was appointed Village Administrator by Mayor John Ortega, and her appointment was approved unanimously by the Village Council. The Village Administrator position has been vacant since fall last year when Dominique Martinez, the previous administrator, left suddenly. Shannon previously worked as finance director for the Village for 8.5 years.
“I am very proud to have appointed Karen to the Administrator position, she is well qualified and deserving of the position” said Mayor John Ortega. “Promoting from within is always a good practice.”
Regarding Village water rates, Village of Questa Attorney Chris DeFillipo stated that his office has an ordinance ready to present to Council. The public hearing on water rates has been pushed to February 28. Councilor Louise Gallegos suggested discounted rates for specific non-profit organizations located within the Village as a reward for the work they do for the Questa community.
Mayor Ortega suggested setting the first Council meeting in February (2/14) to discuss a new Planning & Zoning Board, which is in development. Village Attorney DeFillipo has stated that his office has an ordinance ready for that as well.
Sharon Nicholson of the Questa Public Library joined the meeting via Zoom and announced publicly that the library’s Friends of the Library non-profit received a $56,000 grant from the New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division to revitalize their backyard area for outdoor activities. Nicholson also expressed that an ideal funding number from the NM Legislature would be $50 million, that would make the Questa Public Library completely self-sustaining for the year.
Mayor Ortega shared that the Village’s police department has hired one more officer who reportedly began on Jan. 17. “We have more candidates that we hope to be hiring soon. We are also in the process of getting police vehicles.”
A phone conversation with Questa Police Chief Ronald Montez revealed where the Questa Police Department is purchasing much of its equipment. “There isn’t one retailer that supplies everything,” said Chief Montez. “We have to get different sources, often the manufacturers themselves, for some equipment. For cars, which [are the only used items] the Village is looking to get, we are going through State Police. . . . We have to use several vendors to try and piece all this together.”
Questa del Rio News asked if there is competition between different municipalities for equipment as there is for officers. “For everyday equipment and uniforms, we use Galls as they have a store in Albuquerque,” Chief Montez responded. “As far as competition, all law enforcement agencies in the country use the same companies, so there can be competition at times.” A recording of the Jan. 10 Village Council meeting is available at the following web address: