County Responds to Dixon Seniors Regarding Community Center

During a series of town hall meetings conducted by Commissioner Barney Trujillo, the latest meeting in Dixon proved to be one full of excitement and revelation. The hot topic of the meeting was the Center itself and its’ use. As David Valdez, a local senior, addressed the Commissioner and other members of the panel, which included representatives from several Rio Arriba County (RAC) departments as well as North Central Solid Waste Authority (NCSWA), he spoke with intent. His voice, stern and steady, was in representation of 19 Dixon seniors, who were in opposition of the County hosting the Carnelian Center Food Bank at the Dixon Center. The food bank uses the Center on Thursday afternoons to give out free food to those in need.


This matter was first brought to the County’s attention when local media published an article regarding a petition opposing the food bank’s use of the Center, signed by the 19 seniors. Although the Commissioner claims he never received the petition, he felt that calling a town hall meeting would be appropriate to address the issue anyhow. 


“We, the seniors, approve of this program with its’ intent, but I believe that the program is very poorly managed and lacks oversight.” said Valdez. Valdez went on to add that other concerns included upkeep of the Community Center by the food bank program after use and the nature of the people participating in the food bank in regards to hygiene, as well as behavior that might be altered by drug or alcohol use.


Commissioner Barney Trujillo apologized to the 19 seniors for any inconvenience they may have felt regarding the food program, but stressed that the Center was in fact a community center, which allows for more than just the seniors to use it. “I want to work with the whole community of Dixon and move forward,” said Commissioner Trujillo. County Manager Tomas Campos also spoke and assured the audience that the County was not, in any way, violating any policies in place for the Center’s use and also reminded citizens that because the Center is kept and maintained through general funds, that its’ use is not solely determined by seniors. He also went on to assure the audience that if individuals were in fact showing up on the premises while intoxicated, the County would assure that they would be prohibited from being present on the property.


Luvia Lawyer Aby, a representative of the Carnelian Center Food Bank, also spoke to the crowd. Aby said that the team who runs the food bank weekly in Dixon, was responsible, as well as organized, and she had not witnessed anyone who seemed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. She also took the time to apologize to those who felt inconvenienced by the food bank but thanked County officials for allowing the Carnelian to use the Center.


Commissioner Trujillo concluded on the topic by maintaining that the County would continue to host the food bank.


Other topics included law enforcement and garbage pick-up. Leo Marquez, Executive Secretary of the RAC Sheriff’s Office, also addressed the crowd and assured residents that there would be plenty of law enforcement presence within the community. NCSWA Manager, Gino Romero, also informed the crowd of the on-going audit being conducted by the Authority in order to ensure accountability.


To attend future town hall meetings, please go to www.rio-arriba.org to view upcoming dates.


-Erika Martinez, August 2012