By Jim Owen

With the recent completion of a $1.2 million project, every residence in Santa Clara is connected to the village's sewage treatment system.

Multiple contractors conducted the work in three phases, beginning in 2008. They first installed a sewer line on Bayard Street. The next stage was a line near Cottonwood Street, to connect residents who had been using septic systems. The final phase involved hooking up the Parra Mobile Home Park, off Racetrack Road.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture funded the project, mostly with grants. About $330,000 of the $1.2 million was in the form of two loans that the village must repay. Santa Clara also is responsible for future maintenance of the new lines.

The USDA's state director is scheduled to take part in a grant-closure ceremony at 4 p.m. Thursday at Village Hall. He will present a plaque of completion to the Board of Trustees.

The board, during its regular monthly meeting last week, voted to apply for a $725,000 loan from the New Mexico Finance Authority. The money would finance installation of automated water meters, as well as a monitoring system that would turn pumps at the wells off and on (according to holding-tank levels). The pumps would be converted to solar power.

The village qualified for a 75 percent subsidy, meaning it would be required to repay only one-quarter of the loan. Subsidies are based on a community's population, income levels and need.

On another matter at the meeting, the Santa Clara Historical Society received the board's permission to apply for tax-exempt status. The village will serve as fiscal agent. One of the society's projects is collecting historical photographs and hanging them at Village Hall.

The group also announced that a headstone for "buffalo soldier" Juan Arroyos recently arrived, and will be set up at the village cemetery within two weeks. In June, the board voted to pay about $250 for the grave marker to honor Arroyos, who is buried in the cemetery. Terrazas Funeral Home donated a plaque for the headstone, and the National Guard plans to conduct a ceremony.

The trustees approved the annual update to the uniform traffic ordinance, adding a statute that prohibits texting while driving. The ordinance complies with a statewide texting ban that went into effect July 1.

It is illegal for a driver to send or read text messages, or browse the Internet, while a vehicle is moving. A driver may use a hand-held mobile device while parked, or to call for emergency services.


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