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Las Cruces City Council grants mayor emergency authority amid virus crisis

A view looking up at Las Cruces City Hall.
A view looking up at Las Cruces City Hall.

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- The Las Cruces City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Friday that would grant the mayor the authority to issue an emergency proclamation to declare a state of emergency.

This was an authority that was not included in the city's charter, but discussion arose on it due to the current coronavirus outbreak.

The ordinance states an emergency proclamation would be issued to "protect life, property, preserve public peace, safety, health, welfare and continuity of government services" in the event of an emergency.

Earlier in the week, Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima told ABC-7 he had developed a $4.3 million plan to allocate funds to:

  • Purchasing meals for first-responders and healthcare workers under arrangement with local restaurants;
  • Employing up to 50 drivers on a temporary basis to provide logistical services for disabled or elderly residents, and/or supplement existing services;
  • Engaging with hotels to provide lodging for first responders or healthcare workers, or separate "stand by" housing for disabled or elderly people who need to physically distance themselves from household members.

Las Cruces City Attorney Jennifer Vega-Brown said during Friday's meeting that Miyagishima would not need to issue an emergency declaration in order to discuss the allocation of those funds.

She indicated that the items he is proposing do not full under the definition of an emergency, so she suggested that City Council call for a special meeting to discuss whether or not to carry out Miyagishima's plan.

Council agreed to hold a special meeting on Monday.

Mauricio Casillas

El Paso native Mauricio Casillas co-anchors ABC-7’s Good Morning El Paso.


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