DOUGLAS — Looking to eventually land the economic funding from the federal government not only for the port of entry expansion project but other projects as well, the Douglas City Council approved a resolution recently that puts them into a contractual agreement with Nexxus Consulting LLC, a bipartisan federal government relations firm that will provide professional services for the City of Douglas at a fee of $70,000 per year for the next two years.

Bob Holmes and Ana Ma, both of whom work for Nexxus Consulting in Washington D.C. were actually in Douglas for the July 8 city council meeting. They gave a presentation of what they can provide the city as it pursues more economic development.

Mayor Donald Huish stated after the city council meeting Nexxus Consulting is a lobbying company that will fight for Douglas on many issues, one of which being the port of entry.

“We want to continue to move forward economic development within the City of Douglas,” the mayor said. “The news they provided us tonight of possibly moving the funding up a year is great news. Of course we’re cautiously optimistic. We also feel really good that it possibly could happen and if it does, it’s another reason we need to have these types of people who are constantly looking at funding opportunities for the City of Douglas that will bring money into the area that we qualify for, from the federal government that will help us further to improve Douglas in all aspects.”

Huish says Nexxus Consulting has a good track record and good experience and he believes this move was beneficial to Douglas as it attempts to move forward economically.

The mayor added Luis Ramirez with Ramirez Advisors Inter-National will continue to also work for the city.

“Luis is very much needed in our relationship with Mexico,” he said. “He is in the process of setting up a meeting with the Mexican government and our government regarding the land issues. These people that we hired tonight will work on the funding dollars. Luis will continue to work on getting the project done making sure everything is lined up on both sides of the border.”

In other action at the meeting, the mayor and council approved the first reading of an ordinance amending part of the zoning regulations pertaining to carports and how they can be constructed.

Douglas City Planner Peter Gardner said this change in the ordinance will make it easier on residents who live on small lots and corner lots to build carports.

“We get a number of requests from citizens both on corner lots and in the small lots who wonder why their neighbor has (a carport), why can’t I?” he said. “This pretty much brings everything into compliance. In the past we’ve had folks build carports, not realizing they need a building permit or they were building it in the wrong place and that’s when they tend to ask ‘there is one next door why can’t I do the same thing?’”

Another resolution Gardner brought before the council that was approved established a formal property abatement policy.

“This helps us in what we can and can’t do when we’re looking at an unsafe structure,” he said. “We’re going to take down the unsafe ones in a controlled manner to not only help beautify Douglas but also provide a measure of safety.”

Gardener stated he’s hoping property owners will do this on their own but in the event they don’t the resolution that was passed gives the city the option to do it.

“We will do what we can to secure the building if possible and then put a lien on it to recoup the cost,” he said. “There are several structures around town that currently fall into this category.”

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