Council returns Abengoa fines

PNT Staff

The Portales City Council returned $143,000 in fines levied towards Abengoa Bioenergy Corp. for industrial discharge violations at Tuesday’s regular meeting.

In June, the city found the ethanol producer in non-compliance of a 2006 ordinance limiting industrial discharge to the city’s wastewater treatment stream.

During that meeting, councilors moved to fine Abengoa $1,000 per day stretching back to May 11, the day city officials said the company was first non-compliant. In that meeting, however, Abengoa was given an opportunity to have fines forgiven if it reached compliance by Oct. 15.

Oct. 15 was Monday, and Public Works Director Tom Howell told councilors, “At this point, I think they’re fully in compliance.”

Wes Robinson, the plant manager at Abengoa, thanked the council for giving the company an opportunity to correct its mistakes.

“I want to thank each of you for allowing us to come into compliance,” Robinson said. “It shows what a community and business can do.”

The plant will continue to be tested twice weekly for discharge levels, which Howell said is standard procedure.

In other business, the council:

• Allowed a budget adjustment of $17,140 for the Lodger’s Tax Advisory Board. The adjustments included $13,200 for the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce for Web site revisions and promotional materials; $2,000 to be used in support of the Smithsonian exhibit, “Key Ingredients: America by Food”; $1,000 for Eastern New Mexico University’s Lambda Theta Phi Latin fraternity and $940 for promotional pins from the city clerk’s office.

• Passed a resolution declaring a surplus and authorized an online auction of items. General Services Director Mike Parkey said vehicles, lawn mowers and office supplies were among items to be sold on publicsurplus.com.

• Approved the Portales Fire Department’s intent to apply for $310,613 through the New Mexico Finance Authority Public Project Revolving Fund. Fire Chief John Bridges said the money would be used for a new truck.