Bosquecito project gets on the road

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The Bosquecito Road and flood mitigation project will soon be under way as the Socorro County Commission accepted the project’s loan/grant agreement during its regular meeting Tuesday.

The resolution approved by the county states this three-phase flood prevention project involves installing three low water crossings, elevating an existing roadway and rebuilding Bosquecito Road.

The total amount of the agreement is just over $1.9 million; the grant portion is a little over $1.1 million from the New Mexico Water Trust Board, and the loan about $772,094 through the New Mexico Finance Authority, according to the county’s resolution.

County manager Delilah Walsh said the county must match the Water Trust Board grant with about $400,000 of its own money, which is being financed by a loan through the NMFA. She explained the remainder of the $772,094 sum will be made up by in-kind services provided by the county; when the county road department goes out to work on the project, labor and equipment costs will count toward the $772,094.

“And we estimated the total cash outlay will be about $400,000,” Walsh said.

Walsh said the NMFA loan is a 20-year, zero percent interest loan that will be paid in installments with motor vehicle tax collected by the county. She added the loan can be paid off at any time — for example, if the county gets legislative funding at some point.

“This is really kind of where our rubber really meets the road,” Walsh said, “in making that final commitment to accept the $1.1 million and commit our $400,000.

“Again, I know it’s a lot of money. It’s a great loan opportunity, though, to take 20 years to pay it back at no interest.”

“We’re very fortunate to have this offered to us,” commission chairman and District 4 Commissioner Daniel Monette said. “… That road needs a lot of improvement, and I don’t think we’ll ever have this opportunity again.”

“This is really the only way we can do it,” Walsh said.

The county applied for the funding in November 2011, according to previous El Defensor Chieftain reports, because the road is the only access for several county residents. If enough rain falls in the hills east of Bosquecito, the ensuing flood could take out Bosquecito Road as it lies now and strand area residents.

In other matters, under old business, the commission:

  • Acknowledged and appointed members of the Senior Center Advisory Council. Although not all positions on the board are filled, Walsh recommended the county approve the resolution for reporting purposes. According to the resolution, four of the board’s nine slots are filled by current members Peter Romero, Kay Krehbiel, Nick Keller and Maria Smith-Vega.
  • Tabled a resolution to appoint fire chiefs for the county’s five volunteer fire departments.

Under new business, the commission:

  • Approved annual road mileage for the county road department. Each year, the county must certify with the state how many miles of roads it has in order to get road funding.
  • Tabled an agreement with the New Mexico Department of Public Safety for New Mexico State Police District 11 to provide emergency dispatch services for the county.
  • Approved a fiduciary services agreement with George K. Baum & Co.
  • Appointed Rita Steinnerd, Rosie Tripp and Valerie Moore to the county Board of Registration, which maintains the county’s voter registration list and keeps it current. As alternates, the commission appointed Mary Ann Chavez-Lopez and Rosemary Rutta.
  • Approved a resolution proclaiming the county’s support for House Bill 521: Residential Valuation Limitation & Equity for New Mexico Residents.
  • Adopted an adult detention center sexual misconduct policy, which brings the county into compliance with federal law; i.e., the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003. The policy states its purpose is to help protect inmates and staff from sexual violence, misconduct and harassment.