By Lynn Janes

On May 23, 2024, the commission held a regular meeting at the city annex building.

Priscilla Lucero, director, Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments, said they had not applied for colonias funding due to not being ready for construction until 2025. However, they had awarded $42 million for projects in southern New Mexico which left about $20 million that would be reiterated in August or September. They had sent in the EPA final request for funding but had to make adjustments. The EPA had also approved the PER (preliminary engineering report).

Lucero met with a staff person at the Regional Border Commission and provided a document explaining what the commission does and does not do. They cover eleven counties and counties in distress. "We will qualify for that funding." It allows for $33 million annually for the southwest quarter of New Mexico. They will be looking at in a first round assisting in technical assistance, design and predevelopment. He had not provided an amount to Lucero that they would fund. They also spoke about development of a 40-year water plan.

On June 13, 2024, they will be developing draft policies for the New Mexico Unit funds. It will be presented to the ISC (interstate stream commission). They will be allowing for a public input process before approval. "It is what we have been asking for, so the public is aware and content with rule making on the unit funds." Lucero said they will be doing a public input process here in the later part of the year.

Raymond De La Vega, Stantec, gave the commission an update. The PER had been approved and now they will be moving into the preliminary design phase. Next will be collecting all the background data needed such as surveys, wells, pipeline elements, etc. Stantec has partnered with John Shoemaker and Associates for data on all the wells. They will bee starting with Hurley and doing well review and siting aspect of the wells involved in the project. Shomaker will be checking all records and evaluating which will be closer to compliance for all municipal wells.

The primary goal will be to spend the grants in a timely manner so not to lose any of the funding. De La Vega provided a timeline for the progress of the project for the rest of the year. They will be looking for utilities that will be in their path and the rocky areas so they will know what they will be dealing with to understand better the construction costs. They will also use LIDAR (laser imaging detection and ranging) that will give them a 3D version of the project to make determinations.

In December, they should have the final design proposal and design report with a cost estimate. At that point the project can start construction.

Alex Brown, Silver City town manager, asked that Stantec send the proposal out to all the entities involved for review. Ed Stevens, Hurley mayor, said he was glad to see they would be using Shoemaker for the project. "They are very professional, knowledgeable, and have proven themselves in my past interactions."

Next meeting will be held June 20, 2024


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