AZTEC — Public safety won out over expensive displays of city pride Tuesday night at an Aztec City Commissioners' meeting.

Commissioners approved the purchase of a $750,000 aerial ladder fire truck but rejected a plan to pay $30,000 for 10 tiger sculptures.

The truck, which will be purchased from an Albuquerque company, will take 12 months to manufacture.

City Manager Joshua Ray's proposal to populate Aztec with tiger sculptures was defeated.

Despite a collective desire by the commission to find a way to honor school programs — like championship sports teams and the award-winning Playmakers drama group — the project was put on hold.

Ray, who worked on the proposal with Projects Manager Ed Kotyk, tried to strike a balance between his own excitement for the plan and the commission's concerns over the sculptures.

"It may inspire some to think that it's the dumbest idea in the world," Ray said, in a humorous exchange.

"I'll be the president of that club," Commissioner Eugene Current said.

The price tag and worry over the designs — one tiger prototype was purple layered over with flowers — were cited as primary reasons for tabling the project.

"I am concerned we won't have people beating down our doors to sponsor tigers," Mayor Sally Burbridge said during the pre-meeting workshop.


Also up for consideration was approval of the Parks and Recreation Signage plan, which aimed to unify sign types, typefaces, graphic messages, and colors, giving visitors concise information tho give a clear sense of place.

Mayor Burbridge repeatedly emphasized the perspective of the tourist struggling to navigate from parks to trails to the ruins.

"I want to see more you are here' signs that help connect the city's destination points," she said. "The Main Street courtyard could be a great focal point with a kiosk that directs our visitors along with helpful information."

Parks and Recreation Director Steve Mueller and Current supported the strategic placement of way-finding signs.