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ICIP priorities presented to legislators, Part 6, Santa Clara

Editor's Note: This is part 6 of community presentations about capital outlay to Sen. Howie Morales, and Reps. Rodolpho "Rudy" Martinez and Dianne Hamilton on Monday. This article addresses Santa Clara's infrastructure capital improvement plan priorities.

Mayor Richard Bauch and Clerk Lucy Romo represented the village of Santa Clara.

Morales said the primary reason for the meeting was to strategize for all funding sources. "We are going beyond capital outlay. We know you don't have resources that cities have. The Department of Finance and Administration sees the progress you're making. We want to make sure the audits are done. Getting the ICIPs together reflects the priorities of capital outlay."



Romo said the auditor would be in town in mid-October, with the 2009-10 ready by the end of October. "We haven't started on the 2011, which will be probably ready the end of December."

Bauch said he realizes that if the audits are not done, "we can't do anything."

"Not necessarily," Morales said. "We can make the case that you have made a substantial amount of progress. What about the 2012 audit?"

Romo said she would call the auditor and ask.

Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments Executive Director Priscilla Lucero, who facilitated the meeting, said the 2012 audit is due by Dec. 1.

Bauch said the No. 1 priority of the village is water system improvements. "There are a number of projects we can address. Maybe we can get colonias reversion funding for rewiring the wells."

Morales said Santa Clara and Grant County were on the colonias funding list, but were taken off because of the audits not being complete. "We can amend what is already up there in the next go-round."

Lucero said the Colonias Infrastructure Fund decided it was better for Santa Clara to install the fire hydrants they had already purchased.

"We want the highest priority needs on this ICIP list," Morales said. "Let us know the specifics."

Lucero recommended keeping the SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system for the water system on the list.

"We need the software to help it work," Bauch said. "Plus the radios may have to be replaced. Maybe we'll do a digital system similar to Silver City's. I think the SCADA system is operable if we had the correct software. We also need to rewire the wells. We turn them on and off manually, which hits the pumps and shocks them, so although they should last for at least five years, they only last 18 months. That is our main need and for the SCADA to work automatically."

Buach suggested that a well line might be run across the highway from the Manhattan subdivision to the three businesses, including mechanic's shops, where there is not a water line. "We could put a six-inch line across New Mexico 152 to supply water to the shops and the two residences. We were told it would cost $75 a foot. We are also working on city boundaries. Manhattan is not within the boundaries, but could be brought into them. We probably need a study on this issue and funding for it."

Lucero asked if there were a potential for backflow into the other community. Bauch did not think so. Martinez asked if the area had fire protection, to which Bauch answered no.

In separating out costs, Bauch said the SCADA would cost about $100,000 and the rewiring of the wells is estimated at $87,000.

"If we could rewire the wells, it would save us money in the long run," Bauch said. "A soft ramp up of the voltage would save us approximately $5,000 a year, the power company told us, plus we would save on the $28,000 pumps that don't last as long as they should. It would also save manpower from not having to send people out to the wells seven days a week to manually turn them on, and then turn them off at night."

Lucero suggested using SBDC funds for the SCADA, and to put the water transmission line into a separate priority. "You may have to do an engineering study and get funding for that."

Other priorities include Bayard Street improvements. "Right now they are not ADA-compliant and there is poor lighting. We have applied three years in a row for the Local Government Road Fund. We have received $120,000 and have most of the engineering done. We're waiting on the scoping report. All together it will be about $1.6 million in two or three phases."

Lucero said the village applied to CDBG for the sidewalks, but was denied because of the audits. "My recommendation is to apply again to CDBG."

"We are putting every effort toward the audits," Bauch said. "We inherited quite a situation."

Morales said because the audits are not complete, the village should not even apply for capital outlay.

"For Bayard Street, our first concept was to do three phases, with the sidewalks, lighting and flood control," Bauch said.

Also on the priority list is maintenance equipment for about $100,000 or so. "We have been awarded a groundwater project, but we need a new rodding machine to clean out the sewer. Most of our equipment is way beyond its service life and is unsafe. We need a backhoe, an air compressor and a street sweeper. We're subject to flooding, and every time it rains, mud washes in and clogs up the sewer mains."

Morales asked if the village could look at NMFA or USDA. Bauch said USDA would not fund equipment.

Tracy Burnsed, COG transportation specialist, said it would be a loan with NMFA, and that she would check to see if the project were colonias eligible.

Martinez suggested looking at state transportation surplus. "I will provide you with contact information."

Bauch also talked about the Maple Street Bridge repairs. "We can clean it out and do repairs on the top, but the bridge needs structural repair on the concrete and the expansion joints. I will get an estimate of probable cost from Engineers Inc. The bridge is the first concrete bridge built in New Mexico. I think it is on the Regional Planning Organization list to be repaired by the state."

Another priority is an animal shelter. "We have one acre, which is big enough to house a few animals and an office. Right now where we keep the animals, the barking bothers residents."

This concludes the articles on the discussion among legislators and the various municipalities and the county on their Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan priorities.

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