City granted development certification

Tony Parra

After failing on its first application, the city of Portales gained economic development certification from the New Mexico Economic Development Department on Monday.
The benefits of being a certified community include funding up to $5,000 per year for two years for special projects; state promotion of certified communities at economic development trade shows and for advertising campaigns; and technical assistance in undertaking economic development efforts, NMEDD officials said in October.
Portales has also been added to the NMEDD Web site for prospective business owners who are seeking areas for development.
“I am very pleased that Portales has received certified community status,” Mayor Orlando Ortega said. “This very important status will assist us in our economic development efforts and in moving forward as a community. In order to succeed and prosper, we must take charge of our future …”
Portales became the 14th community in New Mexico to be granted certification. The other communities to have gained certification are: Belen, Cibola County, Carlsbad, Deming, Gallup, Grant County, Hobbs, Las Vegas, Raton, Rio Rancho, San Juan County, Sierra County and Tucumcari.
Those communities gained certification after their first attempt. Portales and another municipality had its application denied in July of 2003.
“We regrouped and joined forces to refile for certification and this time we were accepted,” Ortega said.
Officials with the city, the MainStreet Organization and Roosevelt County Development Corporation worked on the application process.
Kim Huffman, executive director of the RCDC, added input on the second application.
“There was a lot of information required and it needed to be specific in detail,” Huffman said. “The city provided much of the information such as the tax rate and city government and they were quick to let me know.”
Huffman added that the MainStreet Organization, which consists of community business personnel, helped in the application process as well.
“Everyone did their part, from the city government to the local MainStreet Organization,” Huffman said. “There were hundreds of pages which included plans for how we’re going to grow to what types of business we want to recruit. It also provided location sites with detailed drawings and utilities information for prospective businesses. It was a huge project.”
The NMEDD launched the Certified Communities Initiative in July. The purpose was to increase ability of participating communities to effectively respond to economic development opportunities, thereby increasing the chances for new and better jobs in New Mexico, according to a NMEDD press release sent out Monday.