Magdalena’s wish list includes repairs, upgrades

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Santa isn’t the only one getting wish lists this December.

Suggestions for future improvement projects benefiting Magdalena ranged from rehabilitation of dilapidated buildings to upgrades of the village water system at Saturday and Monday’s Community Development Block Grant program public hearings, chaired by village Clerk/Treasurer Rita Broaddus.

The public input gathered at the two hearings will be presented to the Village Board of Trustees at their Jan. 7 meeting, Broaddus said. At that time, the board will determine which ideas merit grant applications.

Only six citizens attended the hearings, she said. On Saturday, resident Jim Nelson proposed additional infrastructure to control storm water runoff. Broaddus told him the village had already constructed drainage systems. At Monday night’s hearing, Nelson revised his proposal, saying he wanted the village to consider basin and swale water containment systems to collect rain water runoff for recharge into the local water table, rather than lose it by diverting the water into arroyos.

Citizens also proposed improvements to the village water system. Donna Dawson pointed out the current telemetry system on the village water tanks has been down for the last two years because of damage from a lightning strike. Currently, a village worker has to monitor the water levels manually in the storage tanks. Others proposed drilling a supplemental well to use when the Trujillo well goes off line.

Village librarian Yvonne Magener asked about funding for a new library building at the Saturday hearing, Broaddus said. Broaddus said the new library building is already on the village’s five-year infrastructure capital improvement plan. That plan addresses needs that can be funded from several different sources.

“It’s been a topic of discussion,” Broaddus said. Libraries have more funding opportunities than other projects, she said.

Magener also proposed researching alternatives to Gilanet, the current village-wide Internet system.

Resident Art Rauschenberg wanted the village to consider rehabilitating broken-down buildings in the village. Broaddus said such rehabilitation projects are not funded through the regular community development block grants.

All of the ideas will be presented to the village board at the Jan. 7 meeting, Broaddus said. At that meeting, trustees will decide which projects to pursue.

Funding for the community block grants comes from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department, but this year, less money will be available, said Laney Williams, grant administrator for the South Central Council of Governments Inc., based in Elephant Butte. SCCOG is funded through the New Mexico Department of Finance using moneys from HUD.

“Last year, HUD allocated $8.5 million, reduced from $14 million a few years ago,” she said.

After the village trustees decide which projects deserve consideration, SCCOG will help them with the entire grant writing process, she said. In April, the New Mexico Community Development Council will rank all funding requests based on the content of the grant applications and the needs of the state. Funding allocations will happen in May.

Public input is a critical factor in each grant application.

“HUD and the CDBG program itself requires a lot of public participation,” Laney said. “Who better to tell you the needs of the community than the people who live in it?”

Prior CDBG program projects include the construction of wastewater lagoons and the paving of Pine Street, Broaddus said.