Council puts water line fix in motion

By Sarah Meyer, PNT Staff Writer

The Portales City Council voted Tuesday to approve Smith Engineering’s proposal to design improvements for a 24-inch water line that has broken three times in the last two years.

“We received five very, very good proposals,” said City Manager Debi Lee. An evaluation committee selected Smith’s proposal because it included a “very tight timeline,” she said.

The city hopes to have the project done by December.

Applications have been submitted for state grants and loans to pay for the $2 million project, as well as for federal loans, Lee said. The city expects to receive a response next week from the state Department of Finance, she said.

Federal funding would trigger an environmental assessment that could slow down the project, Lee said.

Tom Howell, public works director, said the availablity of pipe also could delay completion of the project.

Lee said Smith Engineering said they would meet with Industrial Park tenants and see if something can be done about pressure changes in the water line, which may have contributed to the breaks.

Councilors voted to authorize Lee and Howell, along with the city attorney, to negotiate a contract with Smith Engineering.
“We’re going to fix the problem,” Lee said. “We’ll worry about the funding later.”

In other action, councilors:

• Appointed Shawn Watson to serve as Ward C councilor, filling the seat left vacant by D.K. Schafer’s resignation.

• Approved an intent to adopt an ordinance relating to windmills used for generating electricity and a resolution placing a moratorium on such windmills until the ordinance is in place. The ordinance is scheduled to be considered by the council on June 3.

• Agreed to consider allowing Eastern Plains Headstart to build an additional facility in the park next to its current location at 112 N. Boston Ave., pending receipt of a site plan complete with the size of the proposed building.

• Voted to close out the 2007 Community Development Block Grant, which provided $445,837 to make street and sewer improvements in the north side of town.

• Declined to act on a request for the city to buy back a cemetery lot.

• Heard from Raymond Mirabal about concerns with odors coming from Dairy Concepts. Mirabal said he was worried about the health of people living in the area.