Councilors OK project expansion

By Karl Terry: PNT managing editor

Portales City Councilors gave the OK at Tuesday’s regular meeting to expand a street project currently under way in northeast Portales to include areas cut out in the project’s grant process.

City officials say engineer Chad Lydick is estimating the extra work — on First Street near Mental Health Resources and on Canadian from Bryan to Boulder Streets — will cost approximately $100,000. The project, being underwritten by a $536,226 Community Development Block Grant, has already been started by K. Barnett and Sons. The extra work will be accomplished through change orders and paid for out of a pot of $300,000 councilors left in the budget for such projects.

“That has been one of our so-called hot spots,” Mayor Orlando Ortega Jr. said of the area on first street near MHR and the Head Start building. “They’ve been waiting on this work for a long time.”

Councilor Ron Jackson agreed, saying the two spots cut out were where the biggest need probably existed.

“We’re there — they’re in there working on it and we need to get the work done,” Jackson said.

Jackson said the only complaint he has received on the project was that not all businesses were contacted by the contractor before the work began.

City Manager Debi Lee said the project had been publicized but agreed more needed to be done.

“Now that the contractor is out there it’s important that we minimize the impact to residents,” Lee said.

A new animal shelter is coming closer to being a reality for the city with the council’s approval of a bid from Clovis Metal Buildings for $29,270.78 for the unassembled building. The city still has to get bids for a contractor to do site work and erection of the building.
Council also approved an extra $30,000 to extend work being done by Code Studio on downtown improvement planning.

“What we plan to do is spin off the downtown charette in late September and develop a downtown masterplan,” Lee said.

Lee and Ortega commented that a delay in getting the downtown redesign under way was working in the city’s favor because of the availability of data from the just completed Portales Transportation Plan as well as the charette exercise which should provide more input and information.

“This comes at a very good time for MainStreet,” Lee said of the downtown group that is active in the planning.

In other business councilors:

• Increased its match to the Local Growth Management Committee by $6,000 to provide additional funds for hiring a consultant. The LCMC, along with its sister organization, the Local Growth Management Organization, is working on transition issues related to the new mission at Cannon Air Force Base. The council gave approval for certain members of the LGMO to negotiate the contract with the consultant.

• Approved a contract to participate in a cooperative governmental buying group called the Houston-Galveston Area Council. Fire Chief John Bridges expects to speed up purchasing process for large-ticket items because the cooperative takes care of the competitive bid process in advance. He predicts significant savings as well.

• Approved a memorandum of agreement with the New Mexico Department of Health/Trauma System Fund Authority for $17,000 in training for EMTs.

• OK’d the donation of a surplus 1968 trailer and tank to the Elida Fire Department.

• Approved a professional services contract with Code Studio for development of downtown form-based code planning.