by John Weckerle
We received an e-mail today from one of our readers asking what had happened to Edgewood’s Community On The Way (COW) Awards, typically (and, as it turns out, formerly) held in February each year. The COW Awards were jointly sponsored by the Town of Edgewood and the Edgewood Chamber of Commerce. Curious as to what happened to the annual celebration of community involvement, we contacted the Edgewood municipal offices and talked with Town Clerk Estefanie Muller. According to Ms. Muller, the COW and other nonessential functions were not funded by the Town this year due to financial restraints resulting from State budget cuts and reduced tax revenue. Edgewood, one of the few New Mexico municipalities that imposes no property or other taxes directly on its citizens, has seen reduced gross receipts tax revenues in some months and fears that proposed elimination of the “hold harmless” funds (which compensate local governments for the loss of gross receipts revenues tax on food sales) may pass the Legislature this year, further decreasing funds. We took a quick look at the Town budget presented to the Council on February 16, noting that Clean and Beautiful was funded, but most other “discretionary” programs had bitten the dust.
We also peered behind the cobwebs on the Edgewood Chamber of Commerce web site, which seems not to have been updated for some time. The COW awards are no longer listed under the Events, and the only reference to the celebration is an obscure one listing it as an opportunity for serving on a committee/task force. The Chamber, beset in recent times with troubles both financial and “other,” appears to have abandoned the event as well.
With the event’s two sponsors broke, defunct, absent, or whatever may be the case, and with no other organization with the combination of ability and interest necessary to keep the tradition alive, it appears as if the last plaque has been bestowed and the last cow joke told. We will leave it to our readers to decide what this says to them about Edgewood in terms of its government and its community spirit, but we can say this: Edgewood’s not what it used to be, even just a year or two ago – and may never be again.