City lobbies for funds

Tony Parra

City officials are hoping road work and construction signs decorate the city of Portales this year. With the help of more than $2 million in funding from the New Mexico State Legislature, city officials may just get their wish.
Mayor Orlando Ortega and city officials are requesting $2.42 million in funds for a variety of projects, ranging from city/county street, building and park improvements.
“The first draft was given out to the mayor and city council and my goal is to have it prepared by Friday of next week,” City Manager Debi Lee said. “A lot of my participation will be in the lobbying side. We have a great group of elected officials (city officials) and these guys are really helpful.”
The city streets the mayor and city council are looking to fix and renovate are divided into four different areas. The city is looking for curb and gutter areas between Abilene and Globe, along with the area between 4th Street and 18th Street.
“We have a good record of working with our legislators,” Ortega said. “They know that we are working in a positive direction and they see the progress we’ve made.”
The city is also wanting to improve: North Avenue K, from Lime to Spruce; Kilgore from 3rd Street to New Mexico Highway 88 and an extension of Canadian Street. The estimated total cost for the four areas is $1.28 million.
The city is requesting money for city/county partnership projects to improve Avenue O, from Lime to Spruce and the Lovington Highway to Yucca. The cost for these projects is estimated at $530,000.
“It’s a heavily used street (Avenue O) and it’s in bad shape,” Ortega said. “We put a lot of money and effort into that project as well as the other projects.”
The 2004 request for funding from the New Mexico State Legislature seeks out money for building improvements to the animal control building ($125,000), fire station truck room ($80,000) and roof repairs for city hall, the community services building, fire and police departments.
The New Mexico Municipal League has sent proposed legislation for animal control regulations to Portales and other New Mexico cities. The regulation consists of standards for state, municipal and county animal shelters. It sets basic standards for facilities, insures humane care of the animals, establishes provisions for medical care to name a few. The regulation also discuses creating a standardized procedure of euthanasia, which is the act or killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick animals.
City officials are seeking funds to meet the standards should they pass.
“The regulation would require that animals be killed by injection,” Lee said. “It also has strict standards for space for each of the animals and that would require the animal control building to add additional space to meet standards.”
In addition, Lee said that animal shelter employees would be required to be certified in the euthanasia process.
The request is also in search of funding for a dump truck, main street improvements and park improvements.