City manager stresses need for housing

By Tony Parra

City manager Debi Lee stressed the importance of creating more housing developments in Portales to meet the demands of the housing needs in Tuesday’s city meeting.
Lee gave those in attendance of the city meeting a presentation to illustrate the importance of developing for a growing population with projections from the comprehensive plan. City officials hired Consensus Planning of Albuquerque to develop a comprehensive plan, which has housing data.
According to the projections, the Portales population will grow to 20,197 by 2010 and 23,773 by 2030. The housing report states that many businesses looking to locate in a community require a minimum population threshold of typically 50,000 to consider moving into the area. Clovis and Portales together as a micropolitan area does meet the threshold with a population of 58,909. The micropolitan area population is projected to reach 71,941 by 2030.
“We know there are many things which are going to affect the population, such as Glanbia Food Inc., (an) enrollment increase at Eastern or the increase in dairies,” Lee said. “There is not only a demand for more housing, but an increase in the need of the diversity of housing.”
Lee said affordable housing developments are needed in Portales, a city which has a median personal income of $24,658 and a median family income of $30,462. Lee also said she was surprised by the amount of young people between the ages of 23 to 30, which was the highest population range.
She said this type of information can be used to attract affordable housing developers and in grant applications for funding.
In other business at the meeting:
— Ortega and councilors also approved a notice of intent to authorize the issuance of sale of a city of Portales Industrial Revenue Bond to the Abengoa Bioenergy Corporation Project in the maximum amount of $15 million.
“The city has no liability,” City attorney Stephen Doerr said. “The benefit to them (Abengoa Bioenergy Corporation) of going through the city, is that it’s a tax-free bond.”
The industrial revenue bond calls for Abengoa Bioenergy Corporation representatives to pay $1.2 million on Dec. 1 in maximum interest for each year until Dec. 1, 2034. ABC officials on Dec. 1, 2034 must pay the $15 million for the bond.
Anthony C. Prehm, Abengoa Bioenergy Corporation plant manager, discussed the impact the new purchased equipment will have to the plant, which will double the production of ethanol per year from 15 million gallons to 30 million gallons. Prehm said the money will go to a total revamp of the control system, make the control system more automated and help to cut down the workload for workers.
— Ortega and councilors approved a $90,000 bid for the purchase of an ambulance from Frazier LTD of Houston, Texas. Jesse Mowrer, Portales Fire Department Fire Chief, said Battalion Chief John Bridges wrote a vehicle purchase grant which brought in $50,000 for the PFD to use in the purchase of a new ambulance.
Lee said the remaining $40,000 will come from the city’s general budget fund.
“This is the third purchase from the company,” Mowrer said. “They (Frazier LTD officials) are optimistic to have it by January (if approved).”