The City Council approved a $50,000 contract Wednesday with a local firm that will investigate the business, financial and economic feasibility of a public bank in Santa Fe.
The council voted 5-2 in support of the contract with Building Solutions LLC.
Councilors Bill Dimas and Ron Trujillo cast the dissenting votes. Trujillo questioned the spending, saying he was getting tired of the city “spending all this taxpayer money on studies” that conclude that more money will be needed.
Mayor Javier Gonzales, a regent at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, recused himself since Building Solutions will work on the feasibility study with the Arrowhead Center, a consulting arm of NMSU. Gonzales’ term as a regent ends Friday.
“What’s a little tough on this is that I have been an advocate for us pursuing this next level of study when it comes to a public bank, knowing the important role that it could play in our economy and helping small businesses,” Gonzales said. “But we’ve gotten to a point here in this process that there is a conflict.”
In other business, the council approved a resolution calling for the city manager to arrange a meeting with Santa Fe County commissioners to discuss a jointly owned electric utility. The item passed on consent without any discussion. Trujillo said he meant to pull the item from the consent agenda so he could voice his opposition, but it slipped by. When he asked his colleagues to pull it for discussion, his colleagues voted him down 5-3. Only Dimas and Councilor Signe Lindell supported Trujillo, who said the resolution was going to pass anyway.
Councilor Patti Bushee was absent.
Contact Daniel J. Chacón at 986-3089.