City Council reviews projects

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

Portales City Council got a rundown from staff at Tuesday’s meeting of the city’s capital project needs that total roughly $6.2 million, with the lion’s share coming in street improvements.

“We’re looking tonight to get a finalized listing of what you want us to get bids on,” City Manager Debi Lee said.
Lee said in her memo to the council the items on the list included projects not funded by last year’s state legislature as well as a few other options discussed since then.

The list noted nine street projects with an estimated total cost of $2.9 million. Development of sustainable water supply through purchase of land and new wells was the second highest dollar item at $1.1 million.

Parks and recreation projects including swimming pool and athletic field improvements were projected at $800,000, while continuing work at the waste water treatment plant was estimated at $575,000, equipment was $430,000 and building improvements were listed at $415,000.
As Public Works Director Tom Howell went over the various street projects, one project struck a sore spot with Councilor Jake Lopez, who questioned why the completion of improvements on North Avenue O was still lacking.

Asked by Lopez if the project had received $100,000, Howell said it had, and that the money had been used already on the project.

“We’ve been prioritizing money but don’t ever seem to get it done,” Lopez said.

Howell said completion of work on the street would probably take another $250,000. He told Lopez the biggest problem had been the increase in material prices resulting from the rise in petroleum costs.

Because most of the list was carryover from last year, Mayor Orlando Ortega suggested sticking with the priorities from the previous year in preparing their legislative pitch.

Ortega said while a bill was introduced this week in the U.S. Senate to provide for a pipeline for the Ute Water Project, it was important to keep the water initiatives in the capital mix.

“The governor is proclaiming next year the ‘Year of Water.’ It’s a good opportunity to possibly get funding for expanded well fields,” Ortega said.

In other business city councilors:

• Passed a resolution authorizing renewal of a contract with the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce to provide advertising and tourism promotion. The contract would provide $5,000 from the city’s general fund and $5,000 from the lodger’s tax fund.

• Passed a resolution supporting General Obligation Bond Issue C for libraries across the state. If passed, it could provide approximately $28,828 to the Portales Public Library as well as an additional $200,000 or more for other Roosevelt County libraries.

• Awarded a bid of $135,007 to Nick Griego and Sons Construction of Clovis to provide concrete at railroad crossings on Main and Avenue B.