Legislators’ meeting hears updates, funding requests

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At the Socorro County legislators’ meeting on Thursday morning, Socorro County presenters gathered at City Hall to present to Rep. Don Tripp and Sen. Howie Morales updates and requests for their organizations. According to Tripp, this is the meeting’s fifth year and it was the biggest crowd he has seen.

Socorro water superintendent Lloyd Martinez reported to legislators about the progress of the soccer fields. According to Martinez, dirt has been hauled to the fields and a local farmer has leveled out the fields. However, a lot of money is still needed to finish the soccer fields project, he said.

Restrooms next to the soccer fields still need to be added, and according to Tripp, the soccer fields will cost $650,000 from legislative appropriations for the overall project.

County manager Delilah Walsh spoke for the county and told legislators about current projects that have been completed and some that will be accomplished within the next two years. According to Walsh, she asked for an extension of the June 30 deadline for funding of the Veguita Health Center, and $172,780 to go toward the project.

The second request Walsh asked of legislators is for improvements to the Socorro County’s existing detention infrastructure and the county’s future detention center project. The money will go toward repairs and future upgrades, which include heating and cooling repairs for the current facility and engineering work for the new jail.

Walsh’s third request was for $240,000 for planning, designing and environmental studies for County Road 1-25 and Bridge 2628. According to Walsh, the bridge is located on CR-125/Abo Arroyo.

Walsh’s final request involves refurbishing Socorro County’s Polvadera and San Antonio parks, which will cost $213,000. Walsh said the money will be used to complete the first phase of construction for Polvadera, and also complete the first phase of construction documents for San Antonio.

Beth Beers, director of community-based programs for Socorro General Hospital, reported on program accomplishments for Socorro Health Care.

“Socorro has seen the benefits of a community based programs from the womb to beyond the tomb,” Beers said.

Socorro Health Care is the community arm of Presbyterian Socorro General Hospital and provides programs to support the health and well being of residents of Socorro County, she said. The hospice program recently hosted a memorial, with 105 people who attended to honor loved ones who have passed on. Beers also talked about home health care and how the program treats patients within their homes to make it more cost effective and to keep patients out of the emergency room and hospital.

“In homes we can better serve families and we have a well-trained team who has been in the business a long time,” Beers said.

Heritage program representative licensed independent social worker Kristen Kern said the program has grown from seven to 18 patients. According to Beers, all programs serve Socorro County, and the heritage program provide transportation to the Magdalena and the Veguita areas for those who need it.

Board director of Socorro Mental Health George Zamora told legislators their mission statement is to provide mental health services to the Socorro community, and the vision is to increase community awareness of behavioral problems and available solutions.

According to Socorro Mental Health Director Marcella Wolf, the organization offers behavior health treatment to residents of Socorro and surrounding counties. Socorro Mental Health responded to 746 emergency calls last year, and they have a telephone crisis line partnered with 911, she said. Wolf asked legislators for $50,000 for a prevention program for adults that addresses mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety and parenting problems, and it would be a group process. According to Wolf, in Fiscal Year 2012, Socorro Mental Health completed 480 intakes of new clients.

Other presenters at the meeting included the Socorro city government, New Mexico GRADS, Friends of the Bosque del Apache, Socorro Soil and Water District, the Public Regulations Commission, Socorro Housing Authority and Socorro Consolidated School District.