Council wishing for more wells

By Tony Parra

City councilors selected Smith Engineering Company from Roswell to provide construction services for Blackwater well improvement on Tuesday.
The contract agreement calls for installing pumps into existing irrigation wells and installing water pipelines from the wells to the existing water mains, known as Black Water Well Field Improvements.
It is a step in the process of starting the design from the $1 million water grant for the Blackwater project. This money along with $200,000 from the city’s budget will go to tie in at least five wells to the city’s water supply.
Howell said Smith Engineering officials still need to provide city officials with a certificate of insurance. Howell, Mayor Orlando Ortega and City Manager Debi Lee were some of the members who helped select Smith Engineering out of four options and recommended Smith Engineering for the council to approve.
Howell said in a city meeting in mid-March he hoped to have five wells converted from agricultural to municipal wells by July or August. Agricultural wells are used mainly for irrigation, while municipal wells provide water to homes in the city.
Ortega has said before he would like to see 10 to 13 wells converted from agricultural to municipal.
“Later on in the process we will be able to determine how much money we have left over (from the $1,200,000),” Howell said. “We would like to have five or six more wells added later in the year.”
According to Howell, the construction of the Blackwater well improvement project is set to be completed in a year, but he and Ortega are pushing to get it finished before the timeframe.
Milz Bickely of the Roosevelt County Health Planning Council requested the city be a fiscal agent for the non-profit organization made up of members from the community in order to receive a grant. Council members and Ortega approved the request. Bickely said the RCHPC members have medical knowledge or background.
The RCHPC members recently completed a health profile for Roosevelt County and a preliminary health plan for fiscal 2005.
Bickely said last year the health council received a $5,000 grant and said he’s unsure how much they will receive this year. Lee said one of the requirements in the grant application is that RCHPC must have a fiscal agent.
Lee said city officials will act in a role of dispersing the money received from the grant in the appropriate areas of health.
“It is a step toward doing a more organized approach to funding health needs,” Bickely said. “We have chosen an approach at tackling obesity/diabetes and immunizations as some of the top priorities.”
Bickely said the RCHPC will know in one to three weeks if and how much money they will receive from the state health department. Bickely said RCHPC members meet at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of every month in either Greyhound Arena, room 104 or the La Casa recreation room.
Lee said Ortega and city councilors approved the intent to an ordinance which would create public usage hours for the cemetery and city parks. Lee said the first step is to publicize the intent of the ordinance. The timeframe would be from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. in which the public can be in either place.
“The reason for the ordinance is because there has been vandalism in some of the parks,” Lee said.
Lee said after the intent has been publicized, the ordinance can be approved in the June 15 city meeting. As soon as it is adopted, the ordinance must be advertised, after which point it would go into effect five days later, according to Lee.