Editor's Note: This is Part 6 of a multi-part series on the Prospectors' forum, which was held on Dec. 9. Then the holidays happened, and the rest of the articles did not get written.

The first non-profit organization to present after a lunch break at the forum was the National Center for Frontier Communities, represented by Susan Wilger and Danielle Moffett.

"We both work at Hidalgo Medical Services, but we are representing the National Center for Frontier Communities," Wilger said. "Non-profits are of huge value to the community, both in jobs and social value. They bring in $468 million to the state. One in every 20 jobs is with a non-profit.

"The Non-Profit Center transitioned from The Wellness Coalition to the National Center for Frontier Communities, because one of our priorities is non-profit capacity," Wilger continued. "We want recognition for non-profits.

"We are proposing New Mexico take a more proactive approach with non-profits," she said. "We propose a work group for non-profits to continue to provide jobs."

"I have an update for you," Sen. Howie Morales said. "I see benefits, but did not endorse it on the economic development side, because I believe it should come in from the finance side. I have identified a bill sponsor."

Moffett pointed out the national center is part of the Center for Health Innovations.

"We have the Forward New Mexico program now, which is a package of projects to address the New Mexico medical care access shortage," Moffett said. "We have been implementing the program for three years, and we want to expand it. Research has shown that medical professionals from rural areas trained in rural areas come back to the rural area to serve.

"We have a five-stage model:
1)    The youngest students we are serving are middle and high school. We have impacted 1,300 students a year through school-based health clubs and other activities;
2)    At the college level, we have impacted 125 with mentoring and other support;
3)    In medical school, we provide rotations and housing, with 60-65 rotating into the community for two weeks to six weeks at a time;
4)    We have a family medical residency, with two medical residents and we are interviewing for two more. We can have six at a time, with two at the University of New Mexico and four here; and
5)    We are supporting health care services.

"Grant County is one of only three counties in the nation that is above average for the ratio of health care workers to the number of residents," Moffett said. "We run the local program, with $300,000 augmented with local applicants. We propose to expand Forward New Mexico to four hubs in the state."

Rep. Dianne Hamilton said she would soon return to attending the HMS board meetings.

Rep. Rodolpho "Rudy" Martinez congratulated them on providing services to rural communities.

Sen. Howie Morales asked what the appropriation amount was.

"We are asking for $1.5 million, with $700,000 for the hub and spoke and $100,000 per hub," Moffett said.

"We will have to put it in the front side of the budget," Morales said. "Give it to Rep. Martinez. What about your cash flow?

"We have a strong agreement, and we have been assured that it is moving along on someone's desk," Moffett said.

"Let us know," Morales said.

Hanover Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association President Eddie Evatt said: "We serve 104 households. We spend $900 a month to supplement our wells with Bayard water.  We have a well down."

He said that match funds are always a problem. "We need $406,000 to find another source of water, whether by drilling another well or going deeper on one we have.

"You have a well down?" Morales asked in clarification.

"The drought hurt us," Evatt said. "The water table is below where the well is and it quit pumping in November. We figured it out in January. Well No. 1 is our primary and we can get 25 gallons a minute, but we periodically have to shut it off to recoup the water. Then we get about 13 gallons a minute."

Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments Director Priscilla Lucero pointed out that the water association is its own fiscal agent.

"Do new rules impact water associations?" Morales asked.

"The rules are under review," Lucero said. "I don't know if Colonias funding will be impacted. I don't know about the executive order and how it impacts the Water Trust Board."

"There is a lot of difference for an audit for you than for the city of Albuquerque," Morales said.

Lucero agreed and said mutual domestics don't have staff for budgets.

"We need to determine what tier we have and what tier certification we need," she said. "They are also considering including mutual domestic water associations in the uniformity of budgets. That will be tough, because they don't have enough staff to address all the mutual domestic budgets.

"How much funding do you need for matching?" Morales asked.

"The request is $429,754 possibly for Colonias, but it is difficult to do away with the loan requirements, which is 10 percent," Lucero said.

"It seems like a disadvantage here," Morales said. "It is a huge concern."

Lucero pointed out that Hanover is is only one of the water associations dealing with this issue. It is also hard to get planning money to do engineering studies.

"How many acre-feet of water do you have?" Martinez asked.

"Thirty-five, but we are pumping only about 19 or 20," Evatt replied.

"Have you had to increase water rates?" Martinez asked.

"Thirty days ago, we raised them to a base of $32 plus $1.50 per 1,000 gallons," Evatt confirmed

Lucero said the fees Hanover is paying Bayard for emergency water is depleting the budget.

"We put in a brand new pump, but we're just out of water," Evatt said. "We have paid Bayard $14,000 for water since the first of the year."

'We have to see if we can do something to help you," Hamilton said.

Lucero said she would review the request and get it to the legislators.

The next article will continue the presentations from the non-profit sector.

Live from Silver City

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The Grant County Beat endeavors to post to the Elections page, under News, at the least, notices of candidates for Grant County races. Some candidates for statewide races have also sent their notices. 

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