By Sarah Meyer, PNT Staff Writer
The Portales City Council voted during Tuesday’s meeting to move forward with plans to upgrade the 24-inch water main that has broken three times in the past two years.
Councilors voted 6-0, with Dianne Parker and Ron Jackson absent, to authorize Mayor Orlando Ortega Jr. to sign a contract with Smith Engineering upon resolution of some points in the agreement.
City officials have negotiated a cost of approximately $147,681 with Smith Engineering to make recommendations for the placement of five valves on the water line and design a looped system that supports a redundant water supply for the community, according to documents provided at the meeting.
“It just doesn’t make sense to slow them down,” said Councilor Robert de los Santos.
Smith Engineering has indicated they can finish the project within eight months; the aim is to have the work done by the end of this year.
The city also will move forward with application for a $2 million loan from the New Mexico Environment Department Rural Infrastructure Program.
City Manager Debi Lee said the loan would be at 3 percent interest for 20 years and repayment would not have to begin until one year after the project is finished. Annual payments would be $134,431.
The council will