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Prospectors' Legislative Community Forum, Part 7

Editor's Note: This is the Part 7 of a multi-article series on the Prospectors' Legislative Community Forum, held at Western New Mexico University on Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. Community groups presented their needs and concerns to New Mexico Reps. Dianne Hamilton and Rodolpho "Rudy" Martinez, and Sen. Howie Morales.

Mayor Charles Kelly and Clerk Kristina Ortiz represented the city of Bayard.

"Our Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan exactly mirrors our requests," Kelly said. "Below the top five, the projects are not ranked, but are based on timing and funding. The opportunities to do them should be mentioned."

He cited the unranked ones as water projects, including upgrading the water system, and the cemetery.

"We are looking for other funding for the water system," Kelly said. "Another project is our Emergency Medical Services station in Bayard. It is cutting down response times in the Mining District. We want it to be a 24-hour operation."

Martinez, former Mayor of Bayard, asked if the water distribution system upgrades were within the city limits or outside.

"They are for the wellfield and a line underground that floods and exposes and breaks it," Kelly said.

"I recall the damage," Martinez said. "Is it to relocate the line?"

"Yes, so it won't be in the creek bed," Ortiz said. "It feeds the two main wells.

"We are requesting $200,000 for the cash match to the USDA application we are preparing. It would take care of the feasibility study and the transmission line," she said.

"As far as the cemetery, we still have $200,000 capital outlay from the last session," she continued. "We have $200,000 we are using as a match for the same USDA application. Additional funds could be used as a match for the water projects. All of our capital outlay requests are for cash matches."

"I appreciate the timely and thorough responses from Bayard and Silver City," Morales said. "Was the meter system a project for USDA or Colonias funding?"

Ortiz said it was USDA eligible.  "We need to receive $200,000, so we wouldn't have to take out a loan. We just signed off on a work order for the design. The $200,000 would allow us up to $900,000 and give us enough to be eligible for $500,000 from USDA."

Morales asked about street improvements.

"They are still a priority, but due to the timing we will have to sit out a year," Ortiz said. "We barely got the CDBG contact two weeks ago, and the Colonias funding, we just barely received. We did complete the $120,000 chip seal project of 19 sections of street."

"What about the project by the DOT for $350,000 on highway 356?" Martinez asked. "I understand it needs to be reconstructed. Is there a plan to resurface it?"

"We have heard nothing about a plan," Ortiz said.

"Please send us the information so we can address it with the DOT Secretary," Martinez said. "I think the push will have to come from you. Otherwise another match would have to come from the city."

"The new construction was done wrong," Kelly said. "It looks like they dumped a load of hot mix and made one pass at it."

Martinez concurred that the condition of the road is unacceptable.

Tracy Burnsed, Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments transportation director, said she has been asked to approach the DOT. "The base was not done appropriately, and DOT is aware of the situation."

Martinez said he would like to receive that information. Morales asked for it as soon as possible.

Hurley Mayor Edward Encinas and SWNMCOG director Priscilla Lucero gave the Hurley presentation.

"The town got reverted money to continue the sidewalk lighting project on Diaz Avenue," Encinas said. "The lighting will cost $400,000. Residents are using the sidewalks, so we need the lighting for their use."

The street projects the town would like to continue are on Fran and McGee.  

"We have resolved our audit problems," Encinas said. "As for a water system, we thank Silver City for giving us the land for a well field. The test well was approved, and we're waiting for Colonias funding. Another item is from the Natural Resources Trust for $1.37 million to replace antiquated clay pipes. We also are applying for highway co-op funding for Cortez lighting and sidewalks. It's our main street."

He said the projects all fall under the Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan.

"The water system is our top priority," Encincas said, "but we are waiting to work with Silver City. That is why Diaz and Cortez street projects were pushed forward. Our resources are minimal, so the COG helps us get what we need."

Hamilton said she had seen some of the requests before. "How jealous I am that Martinez now has all of Hurley. I had to give up my part in the redistricting."

Martinez said quite a few improvements have given Hurley a different look. "Are there any plans for the DOT to open Diaz Avenue to 180?"

Encinas said the two intersections to 180 on the north and the south ends of Hurley had been closed because of accidents.

"That's what I've been told," Martinez confirmed. "Congratulations to you on getting your audits up-to-date.

"I did receive a report from the Legislative Council on a couple of legislative outlays that had not been expended," Martinez said.

"What you received is as a result of the council not updating its reports," Lucero said. "The funding has been 100 percent expended. I've told the council they need to update monthly. I highly recommend for you to go in and look monthly. I saw that one capital outlay that was given to Grant County was listed as a Santa Clara project. That can be a problem. I will contact the state and make sure they put things in the right place."

Morales sought confirmation of what he was reading.

"Your top priority is water, but you have to work with Silver City, so that's not now," Morales said. "For No. 2, you have the capital outlay form. No. 3 is upgrading the clay pipes."

Lucero said the NRT gave the funding. "We had submitted a request for water meters, but Colonias did not favor it because they said such a project should be for wastewater.  Because it is not correct, we will attempt to not have the $72,000 revert."

"In the original discussion of planning and design, New Mexico Finance Authority recommended an infrastructure project," Lucero said, "but this project was not for electronic meters, it was just replacing old and obsolete meters."

Morales suggested some wording be changed.

"Last year Hurley Pride got the park done," Encinas said. "We have asked the Community Investment Fund for funding to heat the pool."

Lucero said the Carrasco and Diaz lighting project was the only capital outlay form.

"In the cemetery, we are down to 40 or 50 plots, so we have requested more land from Freeport McMoRan (Copper & Gold Inc.)," Encinas said.

Morales asked for an update when the town hears whether it will receive the land.

The next article will cover the village of Santa Clara and the SWNMCOG.

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