Editor's Note: This is part 2 of a multi-part series of articles on the Prospectors' Legislative Communication Forum, held Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, at Western New Mexico University's Light Hall. This article will cover the Southwest Solid Waste Authority, the city of Bayard, the town of Hurley and the village of Santa Clara.
By Mary Alice Murphy
Bruce Ashburn, Prospectors' president, served as moderator for the annual Legislative Communication Forum for the area legislators-Rep. Dianne Hamilton, District 38; Sen. Howie Morales, District 28; and Rep. John Zimmerman, District 39.
Ashburn introduced the next group to present-the Southwest Solid Waste Authority.
Alex Brown, Silver City town manager, said he is the chairman of the board.
"We had our final hearing for the re-permitting of the landfill," Brown said. "We spent $400,000 on it. We had to start the paperwork as if it were new. It cannot be permitted for longer than 20 years, even though it will last for 38 years. We will look at addressing the issue next year.
"The Solid Waste Authority wants to close cells one through four, but it will cost $800,000," he reported. "We will apply through the Colonias Infrastructure Fund.
"From the Legislature, we were allocated $70,000 for a new roll-off," Brown said. "It was approved, but we haven't heard from DFA. We will spend it as soon as we receive the funding."
He said the audits and reporting are up-to-date.
"We had problems for several years without consistent leadership and with personnel changes," Brown concluded. "Within the past three years, we have been moving in a positive direction."
The legislators had no questions.
"Let's hear from the city of Bayard," Ashburn said.
"The barriers we have are the same as other governmental entities, and the biggest issue is receiving grant agreements for projects," Bayard Clerk Kristina Ortiz said.
"We finally got the legislative agreement at the end of November," she continued. "We have ordered police vehicles and supplies for irrigation of the cemetery.
"We have three requests this year," Ortiz said. "We need $100,000 for the engineering and planning for Orchard Street. We want to maximize the funds for the construction of the entire street.
"Our second request is for recreation improvements," she said. "At Veterans Park, we will have to work with the Corps of Engineers, because there is a stream running through it. For the Community Park, we want repair or replacement of the concession stand. Elected officials want picnic tables. We are asking for $200,000 for engineering and design. Our third request is for the water system. We are in the process of doing a water feasibility report on the well field."
"We had a presentation from the feds," Zimmerman said. "Your name was mentioned as being particularly knowledgeable on wading through federal paperwork. I encourage the county and communities to ask you for assistance."
Morales concurred and said: "There are so many meetings where you are mentioned, the way you and others make limited dollars grow."
"The most important projects for Bayard are Orchard Street and then recreational needs," Ortiz said.
Morales said he would put in for all three.
"Our staff will do the irrigation system at the cemetery," Ortiz said. "We have an easement from the railroad, but we have only 60 days to do the construction. We may just have a chain link fence and landscaping at the cemetery. We had one 'resident' come in in October and have seven other plots purchased. "
To a question about painting the sign, she said: "We wanted the rustic look for the sign."
Ashburn introduced Hurley Mayor Fernando Martinez, Clerk Lori Ortiz, and Councilor Freddie Rodriguez.
"Our first priority is the water project," Martinez said. "There is $821,000 already allocated to it and $428,000 from other parties, as well as the $2.1 million from the ISC.
"We have a shortfall of $100,000 for the engineering and design and we are seeking $25,000 from Freeport McMoRan," Martinez continued. "Our second priority is the Community Center. We need ADA restrooms, and flooring and roofing need repair. Our senior citizens use it a lot."
Zimmerman asked where the town is in the water contract.
"We just recently met with Hurley," Brown said. "To streamline the process, we will contract individually with Hurley. Hurley will hire a water attorney, and it shouldn't take long. I'm guessing within a couple of months, we'll have the agreement."
"It's important to get it in place," Zimmerman said. "Please keep me apprised on the process."
"Congratulations on your new role, Fernando," Morales said. "Quickly, how is the process on the cemetery funds from two years ago?"
Priscilla Lucero, Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments, executive director, reported: "Everything we submitted was lost at fiscal services of the Local Government Division. The LGD is averaging a new project manager about every three months."
"It was still under review last week," Lori Ortiz said.
"I am concerned you will lose (the funding)," Morales said. "We need to be more aggressive."
"I had to duplicate the paperwork, not just once, but twice and three times," Lucero said. "I have had discussions with the LGD."
"This goes for all local governments," Morales said. "Send it to us, so we have copies."
"Also include the project management director," Lucero recommended. "He is very responsive. We have had a number of requests for reimbursement."
Morales asked about the heated children's pool, which Martinez said would be completed by May.
Lucero said the capital request for the community center is specifically for equipment.
"On the water issue, the design will potentially reduce the size of the pipe," Lucero said. "We are looking for specific well drillers that have a state contract to reduce costs."
"I try to keep up with everything you are doing," Zimmerman said. "At any time, email me, call me, when you're not getting support from up north. I can look directors in the eye and say: 'Why are you not being responsive?'
Sen. Morales feels the same way. The directors don't like to hear from us."
Morales said he would follow up with the NM DOT on the railroad and the pipe crossing.
Ashburn next introduced village of Santa Clara Mayor Richard Bauch and Clerk Sheila Hudman.
"Thank you for your support," Bauch said. "The village is making progress because of your help.
"Our cemetery needs improvements," he continued. "It's one of the oldest in the county. We need to replace fencing and lighting and we need a small service area.
"We had a ground penetration service look for unmarked graves," he said. "We have 497 unmarked graves, which makes the cemetery about full. We need the fencing to slightly expand the cemetery and replace what's there. Four graves were outside the fence. We want to include those graves inside.
"Another request is for heavy equipment," Bauch said. "We need to replace our grader and purchase a high-pressure jet routing machine to keep the wastewater lines open."
"The plans you have are for the cemetery," Hudman said. We would like a shade structure for the services, and then we can phase the rest.
Bauch said: "The request for $150,000 can complete the fence and service area. We have put in our own dollars, too."
"I've seen the good work you've done," Morales said. "With the service area, I think it's a worthy project. What kind of fencing will you use?"
"We want wrought iron around the front and a chain link fence around the rest," Hudman said. "We also need to replace the back gate, which lawbreakers have gotten under when law enforcement chased them into the cemetery. The request will include a concrete slab for services."
Hamilton thanked them for a "beautiful presentation."
Zimmerman asked for an update on the maintenance building.
"We received the agreement two weeks ago and sent it back to them in the mail," Hudman replied. "We shouldn't have to cc you to get things done."
"I don't mind the cc," Zimmerman said. "Overall, a million dollars has not been spent because of problems. We will stay on top of things."
Hudman said: "We send thing certified mail and they say they didn't receive them. We personally deliver things and they still say they are missing pieces."
Zimmerman noted that a lot of federal funding is available that doesn't get spent. "I encourage you to talk to Kristina (Ortiz)."