Editor's Note: This is part 5 of community presentations about capital outlay to Sen. Howie Morales, and Reps. Rodolpho "Rudy" Martinez and Dianne Hamilton on Monday. This article addresses Bayard's infrastructure capital improvement plan priorities.
Representing the city of Bayard at the meeting were Mayor Pro Tem Louis Baum and Clerk Kristina Ortiz.
Before the priorities were addressed, Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments Executive Director Priscilla Lucero told Hamilton the Environmental Protection Agency may have funding to do a brownfields site assessment at old Fort Bayard.
"I'm proud to serve all our communities, but particularly Silver City and Bayard," Morales said. "Some of our communities are at audit risk, but Kristi was mentioned by name as always being in touch wit the Department of Finance and Administration. It's nice to hear positive things."
He explained that if the audits were not up-to-date, the community would receive no capital funding. Bayard is current with its audits.
"It is also important not to have projects requested outside the ICIP," Morales said.
Ortiz said the No. 1 priority for Bayard is the water distribution system, with water well improvements, water transmission line replacement, and electronic meters. "We are combining them, so we can go for other sources of funding, too. We didn't get funded from the Colonias Infrastructure Fund. It will cost $850,000 for all three, and we have a grant for $190,000 for half the water meters. We have a $39,000 match saved. Or we can do the rehabilitation of the wells and the transmission lines with a $42,000 match. We are looking at funding sources to fund different part of the project."
Lucero said the city had to force everything into one project because of the urgent need.
"I know we talked about the regional water plan and having all the electronic meters the same, but we can't wait," Ortiz said.
Martinez asked how much water capacity Bayard has. "You should have enough to grow, with the new 70 acre-feet, but I know the wells need to be rehabbed."
Lucero said capital outlay might be able to help with the rest of the electronic meters.
Morales expressed concern not to jeopardize Colonias funding for the next round.
"We need about $200,000 more for the meters," Ortiz said. "We could be the pilot project for them."
Lucero suggested it be a separate priority. "The misunderstanding and the no funding were because community members did not present their projects to the Colonias board. It would be helpful for the governor and legislators to ask to have community members at the deliberations to answer questions."
The second priority for Bayard is street improvements. "We're waiting for a grant agreement from the Department of Finance and Administration for three blocks of North Yucca Street," Ortiz said. "We have started the design work for additional streets. Grant County is going to chipseal 19 segments of streets, including fog seal, and then bill us. The grant agreements are not out of DFA yet, so it will be too late to apply for Community Development Block Grants."
Lucero said the agreement has been at DFA since May. "It's not fair, because CDBG is the only funding some communities can go for. It's already too late. I think they should move the deadline to March, because nothing is done during the legislative session."
She said she would look at the rules and regulations for CDBG at its Oct. 3 meeting to see who should make the change—management or the board.
Ortiz said Bayard had $200,000 tied to a Governor's Road Improvement Project that was taken away. "We used legislative money for the design of North Yucca Street. We are done with the design for Stewart crossing. We have acquired 10 lots from the Foys. Five will be impacted by the crossing. We need funding for it, because bridges cannot be funded with most grants."
"Evidently a culvert is a bridge," Martinez said.
"We sent the grant agreement, and we're waiting for it to come back, so we can start planning," Ortiz said. "We need to do a timeline for the cemetery, and engineering will take a lot of money. We probably need another $200,000 to finish."
Morales said more discussion on the priorities is needed before the Prospectors' Forum in December.
"We have already put cash into the projects, and we need to finish them," Ortiz said. "We are loaned out. A House appropriation can help."
Ortiz also talked about the bicycle path between Bayard and Fort Bayard. "Most of it is in the right-of-way," she said.
Morales said he was optimistic about the water supply project. "I hope CDBG can take care of the street and drainage improvements. I need more information on the cemetery. Get them in by Nov. 1 with better cost estimates," he said. "You are on top of it and it makes things easier for us."
"The problem is that for the next two years, we will be finishing up projects and refilling our coffers," Ortiz said.
"I don't think many in the state realize how hard it is for small communities to make the matches," Hamilton said.
Ortiz said the city was looking to expand, for affordable house, but they will be sold to private owners. "We don't have the capacity to provide services. There are so many dilapidated houses. We want to apply for HUD and rehab them for rental property."
Lucero said CDBG could fund housing rehab.
"We would like to do it, but where would be get the match?" Ortiz asked.
Martinez said Bayard did housing rehab several years ago, and it helped folks.
"Funding is still available, but only CDBG can access the funds," Lucero said.
The next article will feature Santa Clara's ICIP priorities.