Construction on horizon for north Portales

By Tony Parra

Sometime next spring, certain parts of north Portales will take on a new look.
The Portales City Council, in a meeting Tuesday night, authorized the start of a construction project to improve curbs and gutters in north Portales. The project will give a new look to:
• North Abilene Avenue from West Ivy Street to East Lime Street,
• North Austin Avenue from West Ivy Street to East Lime Street,
• East Lime Street from North Main Avenue to North Boston Avenue,
• East Kaywood Street from North Main Avenue to North Boston Avenue and
• East Juniper Street from North Main Avenue to the alley east of Abilene Avenue.
The new construction will affect 185 residents, according to the project description.
The State of New Mexico Local Government Division, Department of Finance and Administration awarded Portales $466,528 for the project. City officials will provide from the city budget $53,020 for architect and engineer fees and $91,584 for construction fees.
City Manager Debi Lee said she hopes the construction will begin in December, but she said more than likely it will take place in the spring of 2006.
“We first need to get an environmental assessment and that will take 60 days,” Lee said. “We should be out for bid no later than July or August.”
In other action at the meeting:
• City councilors had a notice of intent to increase the annual salary of Municipal Judge Fred Arnold from $15,000 to $20,000 to take effect beginning on March 8, 2006. The agenda item had to be tabled because of language in the intent.
City attorneys Stephen Doerr and Randy Knudson suggested the language be changed in the intent. Some of the clarifications which need to be made are the hours the municipal judge and the Portales Municipal Court each operate.
Councilors want the intent to say that the municipal judge shall work a minimum of 20 hours and the Portales Municipal Court will hold the same office hours as Portales City Hall. Currently, the municipal court is open 7:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. The Portales City Hall hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The request was made for intent to be on the agenda for the next city council meeting on June 21.
• City councilors also passed a resolution supporting a grant agreement with the New Mexico Economic Development Department. The NMEDD funded Portales $10,000 because the City of Portales became a certified community. Portales gained certification early in 2004.
The benefits to certification from the NMEDD are that Portales to be added to a state Web site created to attract business to cities and counties in New Mexico, receive funding from the NMEDD for marketing and access to job-training programs, among other benefits.
The $10,000 will be used for marketing purposes to encourage people to move to Portales to live and work.