Grant County Prospectors

The prospectors are a group of business leaders whose purpose is to educate policy makers and community members about the economic, community development and legislative needs in Grant County.

2012 Legislative Forum Transcript

Prospectors’ Legislative Forum

Friday, Nov. 30, 2012

Western New Mexico University

Besse-Forward Global Resource Center

INTRODUCTION

Mike McMillan, Grant County Prospectors’ president

The forum allows Grant County organizations to discuss important issues and gives the legislators more idea of the needs for capital outlay.

We have more presenters than ever before—28—who completed the application and will make presentations.

It’s the first time in several years for the Legislature to have capital outlay requests.After the forum, Prospectors will meet and prioritize the requests.

At Prospectors Day the group will hold a reception in Santa Fe during the legislative session on Jan. 30, at La Fonda Hotel.

I want to recognize the Prospectors and thank you for your work. I also want to recognize the sponsors—Gila Regional Medical Center for breakfast and Western New Mexico University for lunch and the use of this facility (the Besse-Forward Global Resource Center).

I would like to introduce the legislators one at a time, beginning with Rep. Dianne Hamilton.

Rep. Dianne Hamilton

It’s going to be a different session, with a new President Pro Tem in the Senate and a new Speaker of the House.  There are a lot of new members of the Legislature this year. New is usually good. Many bills have been entered and are being pre-filed.

I will again push my PTSD bill in the Interim Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee. The two chairmen are not coming back. I have great hopes it will be an excellent session.

Rep. Rodolpho “Rudy” Martinez

The House will have at least 16 new representatives, and there will be a new Speaker and a new Majority Leader and Whip.

We lost chairmen and committee members, so we will each select five committees of our preference and will get named to two. The chairmen will change. Bills are already in the making. I’ll pre-file three, one on veterans’ issues, one on Fort Bayard and one with the Health and Human Services Committee. I look forward to seeing my new committees. It looks like there will be some capital outlay—not a lot, but some to help local communities.

Sen. Howie Morales

The county is fortunate to have Prospectors.

The state had a surplus when I went into the Legislature. Within six months we were in a recession.

The work of the community has been helpful, and we have not gone without,. We got a bit of capital outlay last year. I was proud that none of my requests got vetoed. It’s because of Prospectors. We have the data to back up our requests. We do see opportunities in both bodies to work together. The goal of all legislators is to improve New Mexico. I look forward to today’s discussion, which will help us serve our constituents.

McMillan

Presenters will have a strict eight minutes per presentation, with five minutes for questions and answers. Cynthia Bettison  is our esteemed Prospector timer.

This year we will have no walk-in presenters. Today, if you come in with an application, we will put it in the notebook, but you may not present.

EDUCATION PRESENTATIONS

Western New Mexico University President Joseph Shepard

Welcome to Western New Mexico University.

I will present our vision. We need to change the university if we want to remain competitive. Competition is fierce.

Many buildings are decaying.

I have several priorities, but I need to tell you where we’re going. This semester we have 3,800 students, the largest number ever. We also have 500 in the freshman class, also the greatest number ever. Two-thirds of these students are on the Silver City campus. We have a very personal 1-13 faculty-student ratio, so our students are receiving a private education at low public university cost.

We have a new outdoors program.

How do we build student life? We hear about online experience. I bet you don’t remember your physics class, but you remember the guy or gal you met. We are not a typical comprehensive university, because we have a component of work-force development. Fifty-five to 60 percent of our students need a course or remediation. They are typically working students. There is no community college here, so we have to fill the need. We are also trying to figure out, along with Silver and Cobre school districts, how to provide vocational training from the eighth grade on.

The university will use the $4 million it will receive from the recently approved general obligation bond on paving, repairing walls that are falling apart, and sidewalks. Thank you for supporting it. We have $26 million in needs. We need to improve our classrooms. Light Hall was built in 1927, and we need to upgrade the museum.

Here’s  a photo of a classroom in Light Hall, with an overhead projector on the desk.  I haven’t seen one of those since I taught in Mexico 20 years ago. This is the climate control—a window air conditioner.

We have other needs, such as a Light Hall Auditorium renovation, so it can be used for classes, conferences, theater productions and community activities.

We received the NAN Ranch Mimbres Collection at the museum, making it an international-level museum, but the museum has steam pipes and fans, and no central heating/ventilation/air-conditioning system. We need $4 million for Light Hall and $2 million for the museum. What we’re trying to do is for the students. We’re trying to transform the university for the students.

Morales

You have the GO bond formula. How are you going to use the $4 million allocated?

Shepard

$1.2 million will go to technology. Some will go to Light Hall for infrastructure, but not renovation. It will cover landscaping around the building, and will take up the majority of the funding. We’ve invested a lot of capital outlay here and in Deming, but now we have voice mail for the first time ever. VOIP was $750,000.

Morales

Where does WNMU rank on the priority list at the Higher Education Department?

Shepard

Light Hall is No. 6 on the priority list. The museum is not in the priorities.

Martinez

What about technology improvements?

Shepard

The GO Bond will not go far. Wireless is slow, as students can attest.

(Later in the session, the audio-visual in the auditorium momentarily failed with a loud humming noise. To shock and then laughter from the audience, it reinforced Shepard’s allegations about the need for technology upgrades. The system was quickly back on and functioning. )

Hamilton

The university and the hospital are the greatest assets in Grant County. It’s exciting to see you doing well.

To clarify an earlier comment, I just found out that there will be 21 new legislators in the House.

It will be a good year at the session. It will be exciting to let legislators know about our excellent university.

Shepard

In addition to the general obligation bond funding, the university has $12.8 million in revenue bonds for the under-construction housing unit.

Next, Eckles Hall will be taken down, and we will spend $25 million in revenue bonds to build Mustang Village. The bonds are paid for through student fees. We are also talking to the county about fixing the swimming pool. We thank you three, the Prospectors and local governments for their support of the university.

______________________________

Western New Mexico University Early Childhood Program Director Melissa Busby

I have several handouts for you.

We can use your support for legislative resources to the Early Childhood Center. This year we received $211,000, which is about 21 percent of our revenue. Other sources include charges for services.

We have had cuts to the funding, so the program is making do with less.

The center had a recent site visit and was reaccredited for five years.

It was very successful, and we received high marks. I have included in the handouts our enrollment statistics. We enroll children from six weeks of age to five years. We have 170 enrolled, with 185 on the wait list. We are one of the largest divisions on campus.”

This is a quote from Mr. Rogers. It ends with “Think about the person who has made a difference in your life.”

That captures what we do to make a difference in a child’s life. Facts about brain development show that from birth to three years, brains develop faster than any other time in a person’s life. At three years of age, a child has 100 billion neurons. We tell teachers: “You are not just babysitters, you are brain architects.”

Rep. Dianne Hamilton

I have been aware for years of the excellence of the Western Early Childhood Center education. You are known nationwide for your programs. It is so important for a child to get a good start.

Rep. Rudy Martinez

Thank you for the excellent job the Early Childhood Program offers and provides.

My granddaughter started there. She’s now nine years old and is an excellent student. She is very bright and outgoing. It is important to continue your program.

Sen. Howie Morales

Thank you for staying in contact with me. During the recession, it bothered me that we had to do cuts. The division of programs is early childhood, kindergarten through 12th grade and higher education. We need to work together.

Busby

The ECP receives $211,700 in total revenue from Children, Youth and Families Department for specific programs, and that 51 percent of the children receive CYFD funding.

Up to 80 percent have received the funding in the past, but fewer are qualifying. And many now receive lesser amounts. A professor has to write a letter saying the student parent needs study time to qualify.

Morales

There have to be changes in the lottery scholarship program. We need time for discussion. We want a dedicated revenue stream for early childhood, and I hope we can develop it.

______________________________

Association of Students at WNMU Governmental Director Edna Reyes

The Opportunity to Grow program is an opportunity to level ourselves with other universities

(She gave a PowerPoint presentation.)

These are needs for Western to become a better university. Upgrading the wireless and Internet systems are two problems that need addressing because of their extreme slowness. After talking to the Internet Technology Department, which was hard to understand, I learned that one of the problems is density coverage and the bandwidth. It is aimed at laptops, but now smartphones and iPads are everywhere, and everyone is trying to use them at the same time. When a lot of students are using the Internet, it is slow. I was told that $200,000 would help upgrade wireless.

Students are promoting is Lecture Capture, which would accommodate students with different needs. Athletes miss a lot of classes, but they could be on the bus watching lectures. Students with sick kids could stream the class live. I live in Deming, and in case of bad weather, I could stream my classes live.  Professors could watch themselves, and it might enhance ways of teaching. It would cost $600,000 to equip 20 classrooms with lecture capture, so $800,000 is the total of what students are asking for.

Hamilton

I really agree with expanding Internet capacity. Kids grow up with computers, and if they get to college and don’t have fast access, they are lost.

Morales

Thank you for inviting me to the Student Association meeting. Dr. Shepard is very supportive of students. Would $200,000 be enough to sustain the wireless for a few years?

(Reyes referred the question to Jason Collet, acting IT director.)

Jason Collet

Western is researching less expensive options, because right now, costs are $12,000 a month, and there would be costs to upgrade.

Shepard

The servers and routers would use general obligation bond funding. The challenge is there is one trunk line into the area down highway 180. We need redundancy.

I would like to recognize Serina Pack, who will carry an early childhood bill.

Martinez

Would students using Lecture Capture be able to interact with the classroom?
April Hanson in IT

Video conferencing would have two-way communication, as well as recording capabilities.

Cobre Consolidated School District Acting Superintendent George Peru and Assistant Superintendent José Carrillo

Peru

The district is just finishing renovating its third school. Students just moved into the Central Elementary, which has been renovated. You should come visit.

We are looking next semester to start on Bayard Elementary School. We are in the process of moving students. Because our enrollment has dropped, we can move students into another facility instead of having to work around them. Safety is important to us.

The auxiliary building at Bayard Elementary was not included in the funding, so we are requesting $350,000. Head Start is housed there, and the building is in dire need of roofing and infrastructure upgrades. We are also looking at our technology infrastructure.

Carrillo

As of the 2014-15 school year, the state is mandating online assessment testing. The cost to the district will be $220,000. We are working with the Public Education Department to make sure we are prepared when the students are simultaneously assessing. We will also need more hardware. We have 80 computers at each school, but about 300 will be assessing at the same time. We are still working on our needs assessment, which cost $1.2 million last time.

Peru

The high school needs renovation. It was on the PED priority list, but we did a roofing project, so now it’s not on the priority list. We are also looking at infrastructure and the cosmetic part. It will take $5 million to finish the renovation. It was built in 1953 and has the original gym floor.

Martinez

It is enlightening to hear what you’ve done and what your needs are. I would like additional information on the online assessment.

Carrillo

The state sent the district a notice about the change to online only. We don’t know yet the implications. In order the keep the integrity of the assessments the students will be taking them at the same time. We need to be able to sustain the traffic and will need more hardware.

Martinez

Do you have fiber optics at the schools?

Carrillo

Yes, we have it at several schools. But we don’t know yet how the students will interact with the testing, so we are working with the state on how much we will need.

Peru

Our IT people say we don’t have enough.

Morales

So you don’t know the costs and have no confirmation from PED?

I’m concerned that it will cost $70 million to implement.

Peru

The New Mexico Public Schools Authority does a 60-40 split on funding, so the cost of the renovation of Bayard Elementary School will have a 40 percent cost match. We will move the students into the Middle School, but the cost of the auxiliary building might have to be borne by the district.  We are requesting $5 million, which can include the PED match.

Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments Executive Director Priscilla Lucero

With regard to the Local Government Planning Fund, each year $2 million is allocated. School districts are eligible through the New Mexico Finance Authority. There is a rule under consideration for changes. I hope it will continue to allow school districts and universities to apply for planning dollars. A school district is eligible for up to a $200,000 loan at 0 percent interest, if it is a disadvantaged area.

Morales

We have only a limited amount of capital outlay, so all funding options should be looked at.

Lucero

The local representatives at the PFSA have changed, but the area’s needs are increasing.

Hamilton

I am amazed to hear the age of Cobre High School. I think it is well maintained. You’ve done a good job of keeping up. The theater was a marvelous addition.

Carrillo

I want to put in a plug for the district’s three early childhood programs.

The kindergarten teachers say the students are well prepared by the programs. The district has to put in some of the funding, so it would help us to increase the Children, Youth and Families Department and the Public Education Department funding.

Silver Consolidated Schools District Facilities Manager Barry Ward and Assistant Superintendent Gus Benakis

Ward

I would like to highlight the issues in the forum application.

Like most public entities, we have been going though tough times. Large projects are done piece by piece. We use bonding, grants and capital outlay to fund them.

The district received $14,000 from a New Mexico Department of Transportation Government Road fund for the parking lot improvements at Cliff Schools. Two years ago, we received $300,000 for energy improvements, including solar and heating/ventilation and air-conditioning. The installation enhanced the buildings and gave us a 22 percent energy savings.

We have reroofed half of La Plata Middle School. Because of the required district match, we could only afford half. We will apply for the other half. We could only take advantage of the Public Schools Facilities Authority funding. Most funding is inaccessible to Silver Schools, because of not being able to come up with the match. Under the current distribution requirements, an accumulation of millions of dollars is not getting to end users.

Sporting activities are important to the schools, but PSFA funding is limited to non-existent for sports facilities. Any major renovation to the football field or the track is totally up to the district. We coordinated with Silver City to upgrade the tennis courts.

The district’s priorities are to finish the Cliff Schools parking lot, and finish the second half of the La Plata roof, contingent on PSFA funding.  Another priority is the resurfacing of the track at Fox Field. It is the most utilized facility in Silver City, from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. We also want to pave the dirt parking lot between Fox Field and the tennis courts to prevent the dirt degrading the polyurethane surface.

We are also seeking funding to stucco the band and elementary school buildings at Cliff. They require continuous maintenance and repair.

With those as the main priorities, we believe some can be funded with a combination of state and district funding, but some are out of our capability.  We have hurdles on a regular basis. We want to provide safe, comfortable learning for students.

I encourage support of the 2-mill election in February.

Hamilton s

I know the loss of students has cost all our districts. What percentage are you down this year?

Benakis

At the 40-day count, the district was down 60 students. That’s not a tremendous burden this year, but we have had a lot of high-end teachers retiring, so we’re looking at a $300,000 hit due to that.

Hamilton

It seems like the public is not concerned about the issues, but I appreciate information being given to the media.

Martinez

The legislators recognize the schools are struggling, especially on infrastructure. What you presented tells us your priorities, and I want to continue the dialogue.

Morales

I want to clarify that the application packet includes the list of priorities.

Ward

They are our general priorities. Some are funded, such as the Cliff parking lot. Some we are working on. If it pans out, we can make the match on the La Plata roof, contingent on PSFA funding. The parking lot between Fox Field and the tennis courts is a priority, because the track is used a lot more than just for school track. It’s a community facility. The life of the track is six to seven years, but we’re going on eight years. We want to continue to provide for the people, so we want to get the parking lot done.

Morales

So, the district is looking at the La Plata roof and the Fox Field parking lot.

Smaller schools get less and less funding from PSFA. Do you have any suggestion on how to improve that?

Ward

Right now, projects are awarded on a need system. If you fall within 1 to 100, you are capable of applying that year. There are awards for those in most need and awards for entire campuses. We may come up with enough for the HVAC, but not for all the floors and doors. They need to recast the awards, which used to be a deficiency system. For instance, a roof is good for 20 years. That can change depending on maintenance. We’ve done it well. We can make it last longer than its useful life. We have good preventative maintenance. We can also do things piece by piece. It’s an ongoing process.

Morales

We will look at not cancelling out smaller schools because of the lack of a match.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT PRESENTATIONS

Grant County Planner Anthony Gutierrez

The renovations to the Business and Conference Center are going along well. We have a federal appropriation for the façade, roof, and parking lot improvements, and for the Corre Caminos Transit addition on the east side.

We have been working with local governments doing cooperative agreements for improvements around the county. The hospital bonds have been approved.

We are working on site development for an industrial park, and are presently looking at sites—one near Hurley, one near Santa Clara and one near the airport.

Water issues are a concern in the Gila Valley because of an upgrade from threatened to endangered of two fish species.

I am a team member of the Fish and Wildlife Services for area designations. The designations, such as this of the species and the expansion of critical habitat put burdens on water users.

We are supporting anything that can be done at Fort Bayard for economic development. Grant County has completed a brownfields assessment grant application with the Environmental Protection Agency to assist with remediation of asbestos and lead.

These are ou capital outlay requests.

Our first priority is for the fair barns, which were extensively damaged by wind. We are working with the Fair Board. Next Tuesday we should have the final recommendation. We are requesting $500,000. Grant County will borrow from the New Mexico Finance Authority about $800,000 to $1 million for the project. We are asking for $500,000 to help pay back the loan.

The competitiveness and diligence of the students makes them leaders in the community, so we have to keep the fair in Grant County. We are also requesting an appropriation for the Administration Center. We moved the Sheriff’s Department into the building, and they need a vault for evidence storage. We also want to make the entrance more accessible and ADA-compliant.

Hamilton

Everything on the list is necessary. I’m wondering about Ace Hardware. Will it move out or stay in the business and conference center?

Gutierrez

Grant County wants to continue the lease, as far as I know.

Hamilton

Right now, you are just renovating the façade?

Gutierrez

Yes, in addition to heating/ventilation/air-conditioning work and improvements to the parking lot.

Martinez

What is the progress on the lift station at Fort Bayard Medical Center?

Gutierrez

We met with engineers, and the appropriation is not large enough, so we are looking at ways to reduce costs to where we can afford it. We’ve been working on the brownfields grant application, so we want a meeting with Engineers Inc. next week.

Martinez

Please relay the information to us.

Gutierrez

We would need $108,000 additional to complete the estimate we have right now.

Martinez

I’m glad to see the county being proactive. The amount I have from the Fair Board is different from what you said. Maybe you can use additional funding, perhaps from the Congressional delegation. I support the fair barn and the brownfields application, in addition to requesting $5 million to demolish the old Fort Bayard hospital to make way for economic development.

Morales

I suggest minor adjustments to the Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan. Do any of the top five priorities have other funding opportunities?

Gutierrez

The top two require state funding, because the fair barn needs to be repaired before the fall fair. The industrial park will look at economic development funding. The Interstate Stream Commission is doing feasibility studies on whether the water project can be funded using Arizona Water Settlements Act, if it is a viable project.

Morales

As I understand it, the county is looking at an NMFA loan for the fair barn and then legislative funding to pay it back.

Gutierrez

Yes, because the project will need to begin in January or February, pending the loan.

Morales

Maybe the first payment could be put off until legislative funding is available.

Gutierrez

I don’t know, but we can pay through the General Fund. I think NMFA can set up payments.

Morales

Are the county audits complete?

Gutierrez

They will all be done by Dec. 31.

Morales

What about the conference center?

Gutierrez

The exterior improvements were required by the EDA grant, so the building would look like a conference center.

Morales

Are there any plans for the back of the building?

Gutierrez

A lot of economic development prospects are interested.

Morales

We need to look at quality of life issues. I am aware that, in January, the movie theater will close down. Maybe we can use the back part of the building for a theater. We are in preliminary discussions. I think it would be a beneficial use of the space.

Gutierrez

We have also looked at the space for sale near the conference center to utilize for a theater. We are talking to Deming about the good, bad and the ugly of a theater, and whether it should be leased out to a company or managed by the county.

Silver City Mayor James Marshall and Town Manager Alex Brown

Marshall

It’s been a busy year-and-a-half doing projects. We’ve done Phase IA of Vistas de Plata and have two or three homes going in. A scree bar was installed on the Wastewater Treatment Plant. We have completed Phase I of Scott Park. The tennis courts were completed and have high usage. We completed the Parks Maintenance building roof and have worked on the golf course.

Planning for (Community Development Block Grant) funding is almost done. The Gabby Hayes Well is done. We are waiting to do the preliminary engineering for the regional water project.

In fact, we are waiting for a lot of stuff from the state. It is months behind in serving contracts.

Brown

The state is a major obstacle.

We’re still under the threat of the disappearance of Hold Harmless. With that funding, we provide services to residents.

The new problem is the delay in issuance of contracts. For grants, we’re waiting seven to eight months. One was awarded in March and we received the contract in October. We don’t have approval to put things out to bid.

As a result of the delays, we cannot apply next year for CDBG funding, for the first time in 12 years, because we don’t have time to complete the project we just got the funding for.

The regional water plan was awarded in April, but the contract has not been received, so it cannot yet go out for bid.

We have other problems receiving clearance from the state to proceed with projects. It is a major delay in all projects. Then we have problems that when we get projects going, we can’t get reimbursement. For more than seven months, reimbursement of $600,000 is outstanding. It puts hits on our cash flow. Their continuing excuse is that they are short-staffed.

Next year, our priority is Scott Park. We need $500,000 for the concession stand and $70,000 for the lights. All the engineering is done. We just need the funding. If we don’t get the funding, we will borrow, so the fields are fully functional.

No. 2 on the town’s priority list is Vistas de Plata. We have $600,000 in federal funding and a $250,000 CDBG reversion. We will shortly go out to bid for Phase IB.”

Our audits are up to date.

Hamilton

I am concerned at seeing so many businesses leaving Silver City and Grant County. I know MainStreet is working on the problem. Do you have an economic development planner for the city?

Brown

We have designated the Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments to be our economic development planner.

Hamilton

Is there anything new coming to the town?

Brown

A few have submitted plans to come in. But I can’t say what they are yet.

Hamilton

I mostly talk to older ladies. I’m always glad when I have positive things to say over bridge.

Brown

Last year, we had the greatest amount of gross receipts ever. As of now, we are 7 percent above last year at this time.

Martinez

Is the issue of contracts and reimbursement being delayed was based around one agency? If the lack of personnel is the excuse, the agency is placing a burden on municipalities. I will continue to visit the agency and get information.

On the Hold Harmless, I assume the Municipal League is presenting a resolution to protect the Hold Harmless? The president of the Municipal League makes it known what impact it would have. We have to make sure entities are protected if we change Hold Harmless.

I’m glad to see you working with other communities.

Morales

I know the frustrations with delays from state government, because it is putting next year’s funding in jeopardy. I commend your efforts to bring in new residents and keep residents. The facility at Scott Park is amazing.

You want $500,000, $100,000 and another $500,000?

Brown

One of the $500,000 requests is to upgrade the sports complex, for the concession stand and bathrooms, and the $100,000 for the lighting.

Morales

I would like a paper trail on the ICIP and other sources of funding.

Brown

One ICIP request was the match for CDBG, which we won’t be able to apply for. It was for street drainage projects, and the AWSA funding. We are looking at the Department of Transportation for street drainage and also at Colonias Infrastructure Fund money.

Morales

I want to make sure the capital outlay forms are ready for submittal.

Lucero

The forms are ready, except for the lighting.

Morales

I want to submit these requests the first day.

City of Bayard Mayor Charles Kelly and Clerk Kristina Ortiz

Kelly

Our Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan exactly mirrors our requests,. Below the top five, the projects are not ranked, but are based on timing and funding. The opportunities to do them should be mentioned.

The unranked ones are water projects, including upgrading the water system, and the cemetery.

We are looking for other funding for the water system. Another project is our Emergency Medical Services station in Bayard. It is cutting down response times in the Mining District. We want it to be a 24-hour operation.

Martinez

Are the water distribution system upgrades within the city limits or outside?

Kelly

They are for the wellfield and a line underground that floods and exposes and breaks it.

Martinez

I recall the damage. Is it to relocate the line?

Ortiz

Yes, so it won’t be in the creek bed. It feeds the two main wells.

We are requesting $200,000 for the cash match to the USDA application we are preparing. It would take care of the feasibility study and the transmission line.

As far as the cemetery, we still have $200,000 capital outlay from the last session. We have $200,000 we are using as a match for the same USDA application. Additional funds could be used as a match for the water projects. All of our capital outlay requests are for cash matches.”

Morales

I appreciate the timely and thorough responses from Bayard and Silver City.

Was the meter system a project for USDA or Colonias funding?

Ortiz

It is USDA eligible. We need to receive $200,000, so we wouldn’t have to take out a loan. We just signed off on a work order for the design. The $200,000 would allow us up to $900,000 and give us enough to be eligible for $500,000 from USDA.

Morales

What about street improvements?

Ortiz

They are still a priority, but due to the timing we will have to sit out a year. We barely got the CDBG contract two weeks ago, and the Colonias funding, we just barely received. We did complete the $120,000 chip seal project of 19 sections of street.

Martinez

What about the project by the DOT for $350,000 on highway 356? I understand it needs to be reconstructed. Is there a plan to resurface it?

Ortiz

We have heard nothing about a plan.

Martinez

Please send us the information so we can address it with the DOT Secretary. I think the push will have to come from you. Otherwise another match would have to come from the city.

Kelly

The new construction was done wrong. It looks like they dumped a load of hot mix and made one pass at it.”

Martinez

I agree the condition of the road is unacceptable.

Tracy Burnsed, Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments transportation director

I have been asked to approach the DOT. The base was not done appropriately, and DOT is aware of the situation.

Martinez

I would like to receive that information.

Morales

We need it as soon as possible.

_____________________________

Hurley Mayor Edward Encinas and SWNMCOG director Priscilla Lucero

Encinas

The town got reverted money to continue the sidewalk lighting project on Diaz Avenue. The lighting will cost $400,000. Residents are using the sidewalks, so we need the lighting for their use.

We would like to continue street projects on Fran and McGee.

We have resolved our audit problems. As for a water system, we thank Silver City for giving us the land for a well field. The test well was approved, and we’re waiting for Colonias funding. Another item is from the Natural Resources Trust for $1.37 million to replace antiquated clay pipes. We also are applying for highway co-op funding for Cortez lighting and sidewalks. It’s our main street.

The projects all fall under the Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan.

The water system is our top priority, but we are waiting to work with Silver City. That is why Diaz and Cortez street projects were pushed forward. Our resources are minimal, so the COG helps us get what we need.

Hamilton

I have seen some of the requests before. How jealous I am that Martinez now has all of Hurley. I had to give up my part in the redistricting.

Martinez

The improvements have given Hurley a different look. Are there any plans for the DOT to open Diaz Avenue to 180?

Encinas

The two intersections to 180 on the north and the south ends of Hurley were closed because of accidents.

Martinez

That’s what I’ve been told. Congratulations to you on getting your audits up-to-date.

I did receive a report from the Legislative Council on a couple of legislative outlays that had not been expended,.

Lucero

What you received is as a result of the council not updating its reports. The funding has been 100 percent expended. I’ve told the council they need to update monthly. I highly recommend for you to go in and look monthly. I saw that one capital outlay that was given to Grant County was listed as a Santa Clara project. That can be a problem. I will contact the state and make sure they put things in the right place.

Morales

Your top priority is water, but you have to work with Silver City, so that’s not now, right? For No. 2, you have the capital outlay form. No. 3 is upgrading the clay pipes.

Lucero

The NRT gave the funding. We had submitted a request for water meters, but Colonias did not favor it because they said such a project should be for wastewater.  Because it is not correct, we will attempt not to have the $72,000 revert.

In the original discussion of planning and design, New Mexico Finance Authority recommended an infrastructure project, but this project was not for electronic meters, it was just replacing old and obsolete meters.

Morales

Maybe some some wording should be changed.

Encinas

Last year Hurley Pride got the park done. We have asked the Community Investment Fund for funding to heat the pool.

Lucero

The Carrasco and Diaz lighting project is the only capital outlay form.

Encinas

In the cemetery, we are down to 40 or 50 plots, so we have requested more land from Freeport McMoRan.

Morales

I would like an update when the town hears whether it will receive the land.

___________________________________________

Santa Clara Mayor Richard Bauch

The village, as you know, has had significant challenges. In the past few years, we have come a long way. We are back to functional. The audits will be completed by March. The past two years, we have invested $100,000 to improve our wells and infrastructure. We are requesting $115,000 to rewire the wells and install a SCADA system. We still have a 1950’s electrical system that is inefficient and temperamental. We have the engineering and design of the new system done. It’s shovel-ready to go out to bid.

The SCADA system can control the wells remotely. Now it’s labor intensive with people having to drive out several times a day to turn the wells on and off. It would make the system more reliable and reduce electrical usage, plus save personnel time.

The village is requesting funding for a backhoe and a street sweeper. We have no street sweeper, and when it rains it creates problems with debris ending up in piles. Our backhoe is 23-years-old and needs repair almost every time it is utilized.

Unfortunately, our audits will not be done by December, but by March. We are in the middle of our third budget and have completed two. We have worked hard to get everything done.

Morales

I know the challenges that have been there. I thank you for making the audits your priority. If they are done by March, maybe we can get some things funded. I ask Priscilla for a correction on the ICIP so that funding may be available.

Bauch

We hope for a new backhoe and a used street sweeper. We have gotten preliminary estimates, but have found no source yet.

Morales

When your audits are in place, it opens up other funding opportunities.

Lucero

It absolutely opens up Colonias funding.

Martinez

Thank you for your hard work to where the village is eligible for funding.

For the SCADA and the electrical improvements, is this enough?

Bauch

We have estimates of $80,000 for rewiring the wells, and $25,000 to $30,000 for the SCADA system.

Martinez

Given increasing costs, this may be low.

Lucero

Mayor Bauch and I wil meet with the engineers to determine if a revision is needed. The reason it is going to capital outlay is that the Colonias Infrastructure Fund took that piece out of the CIF.

Martinez

I want you to be able to compete. There may be other agencies that can provide the equipment.

Hamilton

I am well aware the three communities in the Mining District add a great deal to our community, so I can support your efforts, although because I do not represent your area, I cannot do so monetarily.

Bauch

The Mining District is very important to Grant County.

_____________________________________________________

Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments Executive Director Priscilla Lucero and SWNMCOG Transportation Director Tracy Burnsed

Lucero

We want to show the good in the county.

We have received many awards to the county, which includes $51 million to the county from Community Development Block Grant funding, since its inception.

This year, CDBG is significantly reduced from $13 million to $8 million. It has reduced its staff from nine to four, and has new project managers.

(She also listed the CIF, USDA and DOT funding that has gone to each community, but this writer could not write that fast).

The CIF fund treated southern New Mexico well, and from a fund of $13 million this year, it will increase to $17 million next year.

We are taking up additional grant administration and keeping up.

We also had $18,000 awarded for the next three years for a community initiative joining Grant, Hidalgo and Luna counties. In order to tap into the funds, we have to have an economic development planner. That is what we are doing.  We also have a small contract for a walking school bus project.

An initiative I took the lead on was one I applied for and got $89,000 and I have the same amount of match for a comprehensive economic development plan for the state. I wanted to make sure rural needs are addressed.

Hamilton

You must have a twin sister to get all the work done. Thank you for keeping us informed.

Martinez

Thank you for your efforts. Any time we have a question, we call the COG, and you and your staff are very much available.

Morales

We’re probably in communication on a daily basis. It makes me proud. We have only five legislators in our four counties, but with the work you do, we can see results. We’ve done fairly well with assistance to the southern part of the state that is just amazing. Thank you for being advocates for the communities.

Lucero

It is an honor to serve you and the local governments

NON-PROFIT PRESENTATIONS

Fort Bayard Historic Preservation Society President Cecilia Bell and the Fort Bayard Restoration and Development Coalition President Ansel Walters

Bell

(She showed a short PowerPoint presentation, without comment)

The Fort Bayard Historic Preservation Society has been working to save Fort Bayard since 1998. We’re now seeing it as the major role it played in Grant County. It is a multi-cultural site, not just representing the military and the Buffalo Soldiers. Chinese people worked at the fort. Construction and staff have been and continue to be Hispanic.

Many people who have worked at the fort or who have family who were there come back looking for their family members.

The other day, a nurse’s family was here. We had put up an interpretive sign about nurses, and the granddaughter of one of them identified five of those pictured.”

She recounted the family who had four children who died around Christmas and who are buried at Fort Bayard. A family discovered the graves of their family members.

I have acquired photos from the last doctor at the fort. Visitors continue to come. We have had six from out-of-state since last Saturday.

Our new interpretive signs include one of 13 Apache scouts who received medals of honor.

We spend any volunteer hours helping the Department of Health do maintenance.

I have one big question. I talked to Pilar Cannizarrio of Historic Preservation. She was unaware of a bill to demolish the old hospital. She suggested perhaps the division should come down to the fort and make the state historic district smaller and more manageable. The state wants to keep Fort Bayard as a historic district.

Walters

The coalition is made up of representatives of about 30 interest groups.

The coalition has adopted the feasibility study done for the state of New Mexico. We have four committees, but we cannot proceed until ownership of the fort is determined. We have had two grants offered to us, but we couldn’t accept them without ownership of the property. They have asked us to reapply when ownership is determined.

The decision is between private and local government ownership. We have voted for local government ownership, because we believe it would be more responsive to local interests. Every fort we have studied has been successful. All are owned by a county, city or state government, and most have become self-sufficient within three years.

The fort must be self-sustainable. It should be a major economic development driver in the area.

A group of members from Santa Clara, Grant County and Western New Mexico University is working together to purchase or lease the property. The state said it would not give the property to another state agency, such as the university, but Western wants to use the property for educational opportunities. Santa Clara would like to buy the property, but the state has not shown interest. Grant County proposes to demolish the old hospital with state funding.

The Fort Bayard coalition supports the Brownfields grant application. Grant County is trying to lease the old trailer park for an RV Park, the theater and the commanding officer’s quarters, which is used as a museum. We also are asking for capital outlay to renovate the theater. When ownership is in place, many avenues of funding will be available. That is when private investment can come into place. As an organization, our advisory board does not have the capacity to maintain and develop the fort.

Hamilton

I appreciate how much the two organizations know about the fort and its history. Is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

Bell

I think the county is excited about leasing the areas for an RV park, the theater and the commanding officer’s quarters. We will need heat and the bathrooms for the theater before we can use it as a year-round theater.

Hamilton

Would the county have to furnish people to manage it?

Walters

Santa Clara and Grant County and to some extent Western have moved the project forward.  We think the petition with 3,500 signatures supporting Fort Bayard helped when we sent it to the state.

Grant County has met with the state and the old hospital is the elephant in the room. If we can get the old hospital down, Fort Bayard becomes an economic development asset.

Hamilton

I caution you of the need to get someone ready to take it over.

Bell

The old Hillcrest Hospital was an eyesore that finally came down. Let’s take down the old hospital, but don’t destroy the historic trees and the housing foundations when we’re doing it.

Martinez

Thank both of you for your support and efforts. They have been recognized.

When the Department of Health moved into the new facility, it still remained in charge of maintenance. In no way, are we considering getting rid of the historic homes. The old hospital is expensive to maintain. The Interim Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee supports demolishing the old hospital.

With a change in the legislation, we will carry it as a capital outlay request. Going through the challenges, we need to recognize the things that need to happen for progress. We know there is some resistance, but compare the $5 million to demolish with the $28 million that would be required to renovate it. We have been working on an ongoing plan by Property Control for a number of years.

Morales

I knew when the group and we had a meeting in the summer that the old hospital would be a problem. Is there support to get rid of it?

Bell

I have discussed the issue with the National Parks Service, which oversees national landmarks, such as Fort Bayard. They told me that if we put a marker and maintain the marker as part of history, the campus will remain a national landmark, so the Service supports the demolition.

Morales

I have concerns about allegations in the Deming paper.

Walters

I would like to apologize to Representative Martinez for the unwarranted attack. This particular individual does not attend the Fort Bayard Restoration and Development Coalition meetings. She is presenting her own views. Next time you see an email from her, delete it.

Morales

As we go through the legislative process, we would like your support there. We need to get the request for the theater in capital outlay form.

Lucero

I would be happy to do it.

Martinez

Property Control Division is seeking funding for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning for the theater. Having a capital outlay request form will reinforce that request.

Bell

I would like to ask for help in getting the doors of the theater fixed and secured. They are closed only with a chain and a lock.

Martinez

I will have a conversation with Property Control.

Mimbres Region Arts Council Executive Director Faye McCalmont

The Mimbres Region Arts Council is one of the founding members of the first Arts and Cultural Districts in New Mexico. Three bills will be introduced. I ask you to pass the Arts and Cultural District clean-up bill. It would give $500,000 to the state MainStreet Program. The local ACD has also asked for some funding for wayfinding.

We ask for an increase in funding for the Cultural Affairs Department. We’re consistently No. 1 in the state, but our funding has decreased from $20,000 to $7,000. More funding would help us improve our programs for students, as well as the way we participate in cultural tourism.

Morales

Is the $500,000 a statewide request?

McCalmont

Yes, each district would request how much it wants. We want to put kiosks downtown. It’s difficult for people to even find the way downtown.

Morales

Cuts from $20,000 to $7,000? Maybe we can appropriate more.

McCalmont

The funding is distributed through a grant process, and more and more arts councils are requesting funding.

Morales

We can request more.

Hamilton

Your continued presence in the arts council has been good. How will you get part of the $500,000?

McCalmont

I believe we have to apply to MainStreet.

Martinez

Where are we in requests for more Arts and Cultural Districts?

McCalmont

 

Several are vying for the designation. But it will be awarded to only two. It’s quite a process to apply.

____________________________________

Lynda Aiman-Smith represented the Southwest New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce

The Tamal y Más Fiesta is Dec. 8. We would like to see you there.

I am a Green Chamber member, but I am not here to ask for money. I need advice on how to get something done”

We need an L3C designation, a low-profit limited liability corporation.

Why do we need it? It is a company organization that works best for social entrepreneurs.

I teach online at North Carolina State University from my home in Silver City. I am teaching about entrepreneurs. The L3C sees no divide between doing good and doing well. We care because foundations can invest in corporations that have a social mission. L3Cs can receive funding from foundations, for-profit organizations, and mission-based investors.

I think all it takes to get an L3C is a modification of the limited liability corporation act. I am willing as a citizen and a member of the Green Chamber of Commerce to work with you on this.

Hamilton

This is something brand new. I think it’s very exciting, but I have no advice on how to do it.

Martinez

It’s the first time I have heard of the L3C. We do have staff who can do research on whether it would be better to modify or create new legislation.

Morales

Is the primary mission isocial benefit?

Aiman-Smith

“It can be something like reconstruction of an old hotel or wastewater reclamation.

Morales

The secondary mission is to make a profit?”

Aiman-Smith

Yes. I am also informally working with low-profit investing locally.

Morales

I would like to get more information.

Aiman-Smith

Nine states and three tribes have the L3C designation.

Morales

I think it would help to have a modification of the act.

Aiman-Smith

I don’t know if anyone else in New Mexico is working on the same idea,.

Morales

It would help the legislators if others in the state were thinking along the same lines. Could you please get the information to Kim Clark of Prospectors.

SRAM Tour of the GilaRace Director Jack Brennan and Co-Director Michelle Geels

Brennan

Each year, we have three main goals. No. 1 is to put on the best quality race. No. 2 is to bring money into Grant County, contributing to its economic foundation, and No. 3 is to use the Tour of the Gila as a promotional tool about tourism in Silver City, Grant County and New Mexico, and the quality of life.

Last year the Men’s Pro Race became international with its inclusion on the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) America Tour calendar. We are one of eight out of the 2000 races in the U.S. on the calendar.

In 2013, the Men’s Pro Race will again be on the UCI America Tour calendar with seven others. The Tour of the Gila is considered the fourth most important race in the country. The others are in California, Utah and Colorado. We need $350,000 to put the Women’s Pro Race as part of the UCI calendar.

Just as last year’s race was, the Men’s Pro will be invitational. Last year, we had 20 teams, with 15 from the U.S. It was the first intercontinental race for the Chinese team.

The Women’s Pro last year was one of the strongest teams ever, with Kristin Armstrong, who defended her China Olympics win, by winning at the London Olympics. She wrote us a letter, in which she said the Tour of the Gila is the toughest stage race in the U.S.

On our second goal to bring money to Grant County, we never had a handle on it, but Steve Chavez at Western New Mexico University crunched the numbers, which showed a direct economic development impact of $561,531. For every dollar we put into the race, three came back.

The third goal of using the Tour of the Gila to advance the potential of tourism and quality of life is an ongoing goal. We got a lot of coverage from national and international websites and magazines. We need to improve the professionalism look of the Tour of the Gila. We are asking the state of New Mexico for funds, and we ask agencies to be the conduit for sponsorships statewide.

Hamilton

How is the Tour of the Gila raising funds this year?

Brennan

Through local funding, lodgers’ tax and SRAM sponsorship.

Hamilton

What about the Tourism Department?

Brennan

We got $1,000 from the Sports Authority last year, but we don’t get anything from Tourism. We would love to work with them.

Martinez

Every year a new Blue Book comes out at the state level, and the most recent edition does not have the Tour of the Gila in it.

Geels

We need recognition for what we do in southwest New Mexico.

Brennan

If this event were in Santa Fe, the state would be all over it. We feel neglected down here.

Morales

Five years ago the question was whether the race would continue. Now it seems to have taken off. The Tourism Department is going away from sponsorships. The department Secretary will be here next week. We will sit with her and you. The department wants to go for “connected communities.” With $500,000, 8.9 jobs were supported.

We will do an appropriation bill for you. Let’s get it done. Get the bill from 2008 and use the language and put in a request.

_______________________________________________

Restorative Justice Community Center of Southwest New Mexico had four representatives on hand to talk about the group’s needs.

Stéphane Luchini, director

I will talk about the advanced restorative justice activities, what the group has done and new activities.

We are holding people accountable face-to-face, the victim with the offender. Restorative Justice provides a look at the social return to prevent crime. We will show you how we make the financing viable. It’s a huge cost to the Sheriff and the Detention Center, about half the costs of the county. We recognize the needs of victims to make the offender accountable.

We have three priority areas. It is seeking a stable and viable program model, which is replicable, and using the best and promising practices. It is developing financial and social return on investment. The victim is the center part of the program, including school-based restorative justice practices and restorative re-entry from the detention center.

Mary Lynne Newell, district attorney

The criminal justice system is not user-friendly. The restorative justice approach is about the victim needing closure and a feeling of security.  Locking people up is not the solution. We need to build empathy in offenders and give victims confidence in law enforcement.

Luchini

The costs and benefit review showed $880 per offender, which gives a benefit to the taxpayer, as opposed the $4,600 per adult offender and $3,300 per juvenile defender for incarceration.

We don’t have a specific request for school-based restorative justice services.

Esther Jamison, program manager

The purpose of the program is to help inmates develop empathy.

Joe Andazola, interim jail administrator

I want to make inmates become positive parts of the community. We have too many who keep coming back. We need options other than incarceration. We need re-entry programs to help them get back on their feet.

Hamilton

The program sounds exciting. How far have you gotten and do you have talking circles going?

Luchini

The Juvenile Probation and Parole Office has employees and volunteers doing circles. It seems to be working with the women. We have not done re-entry programs due to resources.

Hamilton

Is it more important in adults or juveniles?

Luchini

We are not doing just rehabilitation. We want to consider the victims. We generally start with juveniles.

Martinez

Is there a mechanism to measure success?

Newell

I’ve been funding juvenile programs, but on such a shoestring that we are not getting statistics on recidivism. We know the kids, and most are not coming back. Every place I’ve known that has used restorative justice programs, it has helped recidivism. We are at 35 percent recidivism right now. I will not be able to fund the program next year.

Martinez

Looking at reducing costs, about $2 million for the jail, maybe the savings can be shifted to this program.

Andazola

I am working with the adult inmates. We have a GED program with Literacy Link-Leamos providing services. We also have a new program for re-entry into the community that we are building from the ground up. If you talk to the inmates, they want to improve, but when they get out, they have no means to get on their feet, so they go back to what they know.

Gilbert (Garcia, deputy jail administrator) has said the victim advocate program was good. We have no tangible results, but we have seen progress with women.

The program was taken seriously. We use services already in Grant County, but inmates are going all over the state and even other states, so it’s hard for them to get such services.

Jamison

In Hawaii, the program has been so successful, that they are changing legislation.

Morales

Go back to the 2008 language on bill No. 258 and maybe change the language. What kind of appropriation are you looking for?

Luchini

The appropriation would go to the 6th Judicial District. In 2009, it was $276,000.

Newell

 The amount did not include the district’s expenditures. Last year, we received $35,000 for a small number of juveniles. We also need to get to young adults. In a couple of cases, to extended families.

It would be good to have a piece for the jails and a piece through the courts. That would give us an idea of how well it works, and you would get a good bang for the buck for down the road. We’re incarcerating 25 percent to 35 percent in the county. We might as well lock them up in kindergarten. Drug Court works because the kids get constant direction.

Volunteer Fire Departments were represented by Gary Benavidez, Grant County wildland fire officer, and Roger Gros, Tyrone Volunteer Fire Department deputy chief

Benavidez

 Over my career, I have fought fires, done fire prevention and fought forest fires. The complexities are growing. The immediate need is for Tyrone VFD. We have a new building for the Wind Canyon Fire Station. The Tyrone station was built in 1965, and we need to restore it. The department has an ISO rating of 5, which is outstanding, but the building may compromise that rating. The department has been in 17 consecutive fires in Grant County.

The State Fire Department has done a good job providing the volunteer fire departments with equipment, but has not put emphasis on personnel.

We have aging and aged volunteers. We need to recruit new younger ones. In the state fire department, there is an opportunity to release funds for stipends for volunteers to answer calls, and not only for their service, but also for the increasing mandatory training.

We have 42 stipend-eligible positions, for the nine departments and two for each station. It would be a little under $200,000 a year. I would like to sit with you to develop the organization and how to use funding for stipend positions.

Morales

Grant County is often the first in the state to experience fires, and the cost of fires is extreme.

Benavidez

Quail Ridge Fire had low cost for suppression—about $250,000, but that does not take into account the damage. Ruidoso’s fire was $4 million.

Morales

What would the cost without the volunteers?

Benavidez

When you look at the wildland-urban interface, it depends on how long the fire lasts. Quail Ridge was caught quickly, although it did burn 13 structures.

Morales

It would be cost- and life-saving.”Would the State Fire Marshal be the fiscal agency?

Benavidez

If it’s the same way as funding is allocated for equipment, then the fire marshal would provide the larger amount of the cost share with the county, and the county would be the fiscal agent.

Morales

I want to make sure the funding gets from the state to the county. It would be capital outlay?

Benavidez

Yes, or a loan, but Tyrone already has a loan for the Wind Canyon Station.

Morales

We will put it in capital outlay language.

Benavidez

We are coming up with the engineering estimate for the Tyrone station.

Martinez

When you speak about volunteer fire departments, are they county and not municipal?

Benavidez

The municipal departments in Silver City, Bayard and Hurley have the same requirements for equipment.

Martinez

Isn’t there a way to pay stipends in the state?

Benavidez

Doña Ana and Sandoval counties have stipends. They passed a fire excise tax for stipends, but they have larger tax bases. There is a state mechanism, but to come up with funding is challenging. We could take some from equipment for stipends.

Martinez

Is it possible to take funding from insurance payments?

Benavidez

The fire marshal said he had been approached with that suggestion. He asked me to submit a proposal. We have to do something, whether local or state funded. We have to do something to improve recruitment. The volunteer fire departments have fought more fires than the Forest Service or municipal departments across the country.

Hamilton

Sierra County has only volunteer fire departments. Yes, volunteerism is waning. We can’t afford not to have volunteer fire departments. I think all of us would be supportive of your request. We can’t expect volunteers to keep doing it.

_______________________________________

Forgotten Veterans’ Memorial Committee representatives Willie Andazola and Paul Madrid

Andazola

We’ve been working on (the Forgotten Veterans’ Memorial) at Bataan Memorial Park since 1999.  We got some funding from our golf tournament. We need $55,000 for a storage container for our tools. We also need power for the lights, landscaping and a Bobcat to spread gravel. We hope to purchase five benches, a gate and handrails. We want to repaint the Huey and replace broken lights, I guess done by kids.

A lady donated a statue of Jesus embracing a soldier. We need $16,000 to put it up. We have estimates on all the work. Oh, we also sell bricks to make money.

Hamilton

If the group wants an appropriation bill, the items would have to be broken out individually.

Morales

I think we can do a plan, design and construct, with Grant County as the fiscal agent. In that case, we would have to put it on a form and keep it general.

Andazola

The last time the Forgotten Veterans’ Memorial requested and received funding, it was given to Bataan Memorial Park, and created problems. We want it to the Forgotten Veterans’ Memorial.”

Martinez

Priscilla Lucero, Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments director, can guide the language.

Make sure you include all your needs. Do not limit it to $55,000. The language would specify that it go to the Forgotten Veterans’ Memorial. Priscilla has the forms.

Lucero

You should ask Grant County if it is willing to serve as fiscal agent, so it doesn’t conflict with any other request. “Then we can proceed.

The Volunteer Center Executive Director Alicia Edwards

The organization’s work is about engaging volunteers to benefit the community.

We have 30,000 incredible people in this county. They fill in the gaps. We do a lot of work with seniors and kids. We have 350 kids in the Alimento backpack food program. It has been as high as 420. We also have summer backpack and summer lunch programs. We do a number of things to engage children.

In our work with seniors, there are two distinct populations of seniors. There are those who are low-income and struggling with food security. They also have physical and mental health issues. We fill in the gaps of other agencies.

The reason I say two distinct populations is that volunteers and donors are the other population. They give a lot of time and money.

We recently began a pilot program to provide services at the Mimbres Senior Center, including exercise and health, so we have seniors in rural areas engaged.

We are using volunteers to end hunger and poverty. We have the food pantry, a mobile food pantry and commodities. We don’t want to be in the food business forever. We want the food supply to be sustainable. Nationally, municipalities are using food as economic development with “have a meal together and change the community.”

The Commons is the physical manifestation of our vision. We built it with a grant through Sen. Bingaman’s office. It is on ¾ of an acre, with ½ an acre, the garden. It was designed by architect Kevin Robinson and built by Timberland Construction. It is passive solar, so it is heated by the sun and cooled by the wind. We recover 3,000 gallons of water from each inch of precipitation.

The Commons is located at 13th and Corbin. We have put all the different pieces of our work in one place. We work with the community to be self-sufficient, with workshops and education. We appreciate your support.

Hamilton

I like the idea of teaching children about food and sustaining their health. When I go to schools I see more food in the trash than was consumed at the cafeteria.

How do you find the volunteers?

Edwards

Knock on wood. We have no problem finding the volunteers. They are amazing people. We provide services no one else can. People can call and say: “we need a ramp or a meal,” and someone steps forward to volunteer and donate.

Martinez

The backpack program is so important. I notcie The Volunteer Center’s program has expanded.

Morales a

What are the four communities served by this program? Silver City and Las Cruces and?

Edwards

Farmington is another one up north. The Volunteer Center, as an organization, is committed to the idea that we work in Grant County, not just Silver City.

Morales

The legislation says Silver City. Will it have to go directly to the town?

Edwards

I will call and include all the counties in the legislation.

_____________________________

Silver City MainStreet Project Manager Nick Seibel

I apologize for being tardy. I was moving furniture for tonight’s chair-ity auction. Your support of MainStreet means a lot. The list goes on for the accomplishments through the efforts of MainStreet. New Mexico MainStreet Program continues to share appropriations. Last year we received $175,000 toward the acquisition of the Silco Theater. We are on the verge of getting it accomplished. The New Mexico Economic Development Department is asking for an appropriation for the MainStreet communities and the Arts and Cultural District communities.

Our priority is improvement of the Farmers’ Market area, with grading and a stage. Because of the Farmers’ Market, Saturday mornings are the busiest days in town.

Another priority, along with Silver City and others in Grant County and other MainStreet communities in the state is to make changes in liquor laws in New Mexico. Alamogordo is ahead of us. The problem is the larger communities buy liquor licenses out of smaller communities. The Pink Store is coming here. Think of having a margarita while you shop in the store in Palomas. You can’t do that here.

Morales

Last year NM MainStreet got $1 million. $175,000 was for the Silco?

Seibel

That amount is half the cost of the building. We are working with Silver City for a loan. We have larger ideas for all three downtown theaters.

Morales

Explain the paving and stage at the Farmers’ Market area.

Seibel

We have a plan in line with the needs of the Farmers’ Market working with MainStreet. The stage would be at the corner of Seventh Street and Bullard and would pull people into the market. Then we need a public restroom facility.

Morales

What would be the estimated cost?

Seibel

Our request is for $150,000. “The greenways estimate is in planning and will be completed in January.  I think MainStreet is requesting more this year—$2 million. A request is also in for Arts and Cultural District projects. Silver City would like a wayfinding system.

Martinez

You mentioned the inability to serve drinks Could you update us on the changes?

Seibel

The proposal in Alamogordo is to redefine economic development and liquor licenses. They were calling for a study of the problem. We recognize it is a problem. In Clayton, there is no place to get a drink except in private organization buildings. It’s hard to keep a liquor license in a small community.

Martinez

What about an outside liquor license?”

Seibel

It could be an outside beer and wine license. We would like to see it structured to create a rural liquor license that is not transferable outside of a rural area. Keep the others transferable.

Martinez

Is there any interest in brew pubs?

Seibel

Q’s Bistro is working on a brewing license with Bob who had it prior. For the theater district, one theater could be a viewing pub, with a show and dinner. I think El Sol would be appropriate.

Martinez

It is interesting what economic opportunities the change could bring.

HEALTHCARE PRESENTATIONS

Hidalgo Medical Services Center for Health Innovations Director Charlie Alfero and HMS Workforce ManagerTamera Ahner

Alfero

The new center was formed to assure that rural health would be well represented for health needs.

We have four issues, and two are around work force. We received funding from the Department of Health and we will ask you to look at increasing the model for workforce solutions. A second issue is our rural residency programs. Items of interest are care coordination and family support services to work with the high-cost, high-risk, most expensive Medicaid patients.

Hidalgo Medical Services and the Center for Health Innovations have lowered the costs of these patients with high results and believe better preventative measures are needed.

Lack of air transport to the northern part of the state is a problem. We have used it consistently and extensively. To maintain connections without the opportunity to fly back and forth is detrimental.

Ahner

I will give an update on where the program has been and where it is headed.

We had instant results from student interactions of the past year, as a result of Memorial 65. We expect an expansion of health jobs of 35 percent over the next 10 years. We have had 1,4000 encounters with students over the past year. In the first Health Career Club, 100 percent said the club had influenced their career plans toward health care. Forty percent want to work in the community. Students are interested in expansion of the program.

We held a four-week math and science academy this summer. The Department of Health says it supports the model and to “please take it into other parts of the state.” Our proposal in your packet speaks to future expansion of the program, while maintaining the hub in Silver City.

Hamilton

When will the new HMS building downtown open?

Alfero

We expect substantial completion by Dec. 17. In January, we will have the grand opening, and the facility will be open to the public in February. We will move our Health Innovations Center. We have signed a lease with Harry Bright for that two-story brick building on College Ave. We ran out of space.

Martinez

It was good to hear young people wanting to stay home and have their children grow up here.

Morales

 

I commend you for Dreammakers—an educational achievement we need to look for. They are looking for a career in health care. What about the two additional sites for Forward New Mexico?

Ahner

HMS has signed a five-year contract with the Department of Health, with the first year for planning and identifying the two sites.

Alfero

We received federal funding and will add Luna and Catron counties for school-based work there.

Morales

Senate Memorial 65 was mentioned. (It will provide a study for a vocational and technological school in Grant County.)

Ahner

We have been following it. We want to provide a meaningful partnership with Western New Mexico University and the school districts.

Grant County Community Health Council Coordinator Tiffany Knauf

I am excited to share data from our recently completed Community Assessment Survey.

The Health Council is the health and wellness planning council for the county. We want to remind you of the importance of re-funding health councils across the state. We have survived on unencumbered funding, and we appreciate Gila Regional Medical Center picking up the funding for our health council.

5,055 surveys have been completed. This represents one in four people over the age of 18. This is the highest response rate in the state and potentially in the nation.

I can sort data in minutes, if you’re sitting at the Legislature.

Six hundred and 40 veterans completed the surveys. The communities had slightly different results. For instance, for Hurley, the concerns were water, fire and roads. In the Mining District in general, it was workforce and homelessness.

We also had a page in the survey dedicated to senior concerns. “The data is already being used. In Santa Clara, the third most important concern was senior services, and access to a pharmacy was No. 1 in Hurley.

A concern for seniors in trailers and mobile homes was that manufactured homes do not qualify for subsidized repair and weatherization.

We hope to have the profile done before the legislative session. (She handed Community Resource Directories to the legislators.)

Morales

Your survey has to be the project of the year. The up-to-date information and the large amount of the population surveyed will be a plus.

Knauf

A comprehensive report of the data will be given at the Health Council meeting at 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3. We invite you to attend.

Morales

I would like a comprehensive report.

Knauf

I am happy to sit with any of you to discuss it.

Martinez

Can the data be broken down by community?

Knauf

Absolutely. 64 percent of respondents lists Silver City as their home, 7 percent listed Bayard, 5 percent Hurley and 4.5 percent Santa Clara.

Hamilton

I look forward to looking at the Community Resource Directory How many of you are there?

Knauf

There are two of us, me and assistant coordinator Kendra Milligan, plus the intern Jesse, who input most of the surveys.

We didn’t ask any questions about disabilities on the survey, because people with them are self-selecting, but we are working with a group under Susie Trujillo to get disability data.

___________________________

Local Collaborative 6 was represented by Mary Stoecker, Rosana Thomas and Susan Wilger.

 

Stoecker

We are advocating for behavioral health care and needs and to expand behavioral health services. Our legislative priorities include school-based health centers, the total community approach and an inmate support program. We are part of a statewide group of local collaboratives.

Thomas, total community approach coordinator

The program has been around since 2008, encompassing various substance abuse issues.

The Grant County and Hidalgo County adult drug court is making great strides. The cost per day is $10 to $12 dollars as opposed to $113 a day in Grant County for incarceration and $58 per day in Hidalgo County. Many of those participating are working and/or going to school. In the Kokopelli program, total community approach entities come together to help people help themselves.

Susan Wilger of Hidalgo Medical Services Center for Health Innovations

I am a long-time member of the Local Collaborative 6.

We have three school-based health centers—one in Cobre High School, one in Silver High School and one in Lordsburg High School. Deming lost its funding. We are requesting your support for funding for school-based primary care and behavioral health care. The programs are administered through HMS. The $190,000 in funding from the state is not enough. Behavioral health issues far exceed what we can provide. If there is a school-based health care center, students are more likely to stay in school and graduate.

We see about 150 students. They feel comfortable with us, and we can do risk assessments for about 50. We need an additional $2.5 million. We request additional funding for behavioral health issues in schools with C, D, or F grades.

Hamilton

I commend you for your important work. It’s important we remove the stigma from alcohol abuse, drug abuse and behavioral health issues.

Martinez

You are tenacious at keeping up with legislation and having the programs needed. Will $2.5 million be adequate?

Wilger

The amount needed varies by school district. We’re in a good situation, where we can bill for insurance. Some students only have Medicaid. If the student is 14 years old or older, he or she can seek services without parental permission. Out of the funding requested, I think each center would receive only about $45,000. That doesn’t go far.

Morales

Is the $600,000 appropriation for the total community new funding?

Stoecker

We have been receiving a similar amount for four years. Last year we were cut. We are asking for maintenance and growth. We can show the positive outcomes. This model has worked well.”

Morales

So, in reality, this is not new. It is an increase of $100,000 above what you received this year. I am very supportive of the school-based program, but I personally would not use the C, D, or F ranking, because it is not sustainable because the system is not stable. I would look at poverty levels.

Wilger

We appreciate that information and will take it back. Medicaid expansion would be a plus for the program.

Life Quest Inc. by several representatives

Life Quest Executive Director Evangeline Zamora

We want to give you information of our concern regarding the future of the program. We are facing challenges under the DD waiver. We serve four communities. The early intervention program, which serves children from 0 to four year of age and the adults, who are receiving care, are under the DD waiver.

Ramona Crum, early intervention program director

The free entitlement is under IDEA part C. The program has changed. The child has to transition out of the program, when he or she turns three years of age. A parent can no longer choose to let the child stay until the age of four.

We serve a large area from here to Reserve, down to Luna County and Hidalgo County. “We have a difficult time recruiting therapists because the area is so large and rural. We have a bilingual population in Deming. In Hidalgo County, we have limited resources, so we cannot serve all those who want services. In Catron County, it is hard to get on the list for services, because a therapist has to drive to Glenwood, Quemado and Reserve. We have so many children who need intervention, but we have limited resources.

Zamora

Of the 1,400 children in the FIT program, 250 are in the area.

Yvonne Carbajal

We lost 141 due to transition when they reached three years of age. “Some went to schools and some to day care.

Zamora

The challenges include travel and transportation costs. We are going to the university recruiting.

Deb Frasca

The challenges are huge to providers across the state, including changes in DD waivers and rates. We are dropping the supportive living program. I ask you to support us and prevent more cuts. Put pressure on the Department of Health for the assessments.

Zamora

We are the only non-profit to provide services in the four-county area.

Morales

When will the outstanding SIS (Support Intensity Scale) assessment evaluation take place?

Frasca

Here only about one-third of the clients have been assessed. They have not even been scheduled.

Morales

What would you do if the SIS process were stopped?

Frasca

We would go back to the way we are doing things right now. Some have been assessed, but we have no services.

Morales

How about the process of getting people off the DD waivers? I think former secretary Torres was surprised that so many thought the waiver wasn’t working. We need to talk more about FIT in further discussions. We need to increase reimbursements, but the Human Services Department is difficult to get to the table.

Martinez

“he changes to the DD waivers and how it is affecting those most in need is dramatic. We need to continue visiting to see what we can do.

Hamilton

Thank you for sharing the information.

Crum

There is no waiting list for early education evaluation. They are in the program within 45 days. The problem is when there is no therapist. When we service 135 kids, if they need physical therapy or speech therapy, it is a problem. We are working with Western to increase the numbers in the occupational therapy program.

El Refugio Inc. Executive Director Maria Morales-Loebl

Thank you for your ongoing leadership and advocacy.

I have statistics ending June 30. We served 432 people during the year. We get calls for everything on the crisis line. We served 3,888 meals, but we can only bill for meals for children.

We fall under the New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence. We will advocate for $1 million in additional funds.

I answered the questions in the application for the forum, but I also submitted questions to which the board wants answers.

June 2012 was the end of Children, Youth and Families Department funding. Although there was a 15 percent increase for this year, under the new funding cycle, where we submitted and met certain criteria for the next four years, we are still under a 20 percent decrease in funding from the past. The department made big changes in funding.

We had to decide whether to choose 100 percent cost reimbursement or billable amounts.

It is no longer a hybrid model, which was 70 percent billable and 30 percent cost reimbursement. For rural operations, the hybrid is the best way to provide services. We developed it over years of advocacy.

The other question I have is what happened at the end of fiscal year 2012? I don’t know what can be done with the deficit at the end of fiscal year 2012. Our funding ended at the end of April, because we had totally billed out of funding. We spent another $79,000 through June, for which we never got reimbursed.

In April, we had a spike in domestic violence. “t will be hard to absorb the loss. If you look statewide, you will be shocked. So many of the grants have no administrative costs. We’re 24/7, and everything keeps going.

Hamilton

How are you going to stay open?

Morales-Loebl

We have to keep going 24/7. We closed down in Hidalgo County, and we are only available on call. For the domestic violence offender program, they have to travel to Grant County, because there aren’t enough to cover costs for a program in Hidalgo County. We have scaled down other services.

Hamilton

How many residents do you have?

Morales-Loebl

We have 11 women and 14 children today.

Martinez

It iss unfortunate the program had to be cut back in Hidalgo County. Are there court mandates?

Morales-Loebl

We only accept referrals.

Martinez

Is there funding from the courts for the offender program?

Morales-Loebl

We bill CYFD a $50 intake fee and the offenders pay $15 per class. We have separate programs for men and women, and they still are not sufficient. There are needs we can’t cover, such as paperwork.  We have programs Wednesday night at GRMC, Thursday morning at CYFD, Monday afternoon and Monday evening in Bayard.

Morales

Were you told beforehand about the choice of 100 percent billable or 100 percent cost reimbursement?

Morales-Loebl

We would prefer billable units, but there are too many factors. We have capacity in the shelter. Even if no one is in the shelter, we have to stay open 24/7, but we can’t bill.

Morales

I presume the coalition will bring the requests.

Morales-Loebl

Yes, it will ask for $1 million additional funding.

The Gila Regional Medical Center Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Unit (SANE) and the Silver Regional Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS) presented together.

Stormy Flamm of SANE

The program is fairly new, and it has enough money for one year. We have seen 29 at the hospital. We work closely with SASS. Six nurses are trained and paid from the Department of Health, because it is not fair for the victim to be charged.  If the victim is younger than 13 years of age, we can’t see them here. They have to go to Las Cruces. We want to train for pediatrics.

The New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault programs is asking for $1 million.

Carrie Lenox, SASS board chairwoman

The group for two years has been a stand-alone 501c3. In October, we can take care of our own finances. I am here on behalf of the victims. One in four women in New Mexico has been or will be sexually assaulted. Here in Grant County, it is 1 in 4.25. It affects all of us and will affect the victims for the rest of their lives.

I’m also an advocate, which is a difficult job. Advocates need reimbursement. Often the victim is by herself. Sometimes they want someone to touch them, sometimes not. I want to listen to their stories. When they go home or to a safe place—we help them find a place. There is no shelter, and if they need money for a hotel room, we’re there. A woman who has been violently raped may say: “I don’t know if my husband will want me.” We have to change cultures and quit hiding it.

We are asking for $1 million across the state. The focus will be for rape crisis centers. We’re in a borrowed facility in the Health Council building. We need space for counseling, a safe place for people and for therapists. We can refer people, but I’m not sure, if they have no medical insurance, how they can get services. We need money.

Kristy Rogers of SASS

The services the organization offers have everything free and confidential.

We are not law enforcement or medical practitioners. We follow up with assessments on how to empower the victims. We do counseling referrals, such as to Border Area Mental Health Services. We also help with HUD applications and food stamps. We support them if they go into the criminal justice system. We have a 24/7 crisis line; we advocate 24/7; and we’ll talk to a victim whether it was yesterday or 40 years ago. Sexual assault is a huge issue in our community.

Lenox

I almost forgot to say that the SASS executive director, Colleen Boyd, is meeting with other executive directors across the state and was sorry she could not be at the forum.

Hamilton

It is admirable what you’re doing. I had no idea we didn’t have such a program here. How do you get referrals?

Lenox

We put fliers all over the place, with the little tear off tabs with our phone number. There are some in the restrooms down the hall. We speak at various events and activities and do tables and hand out information.

Flamm

The victims also come through the hospital. Before that, the emergency room doctors would examine them, but we take a complete assessment. I’m in the room with the victim for two hours to five hours.

Martinez

It’s really sad we have to provide these services.

Lenox

The state has seven rape crisis centers and 11 SANE units. It’s difficult in rural areas.

Flamm

We serve four counties.

Martinez

It is surprising there are not more centers and units.

Lenox

People don’t want to talk about it.

 Martinez

I need to learn more. I’m a strong advocate for your program at Gila Regional.

Flamm

I am paid for 10 hours a week to coordinate the program, and I’m committed to SASS. I’m getting paid for 10 hours for being on call 24/7.

Morales

I know it’s challenging with so many stressors. This forum doesn’t just impact this community. Colleen shared with us the budget crisis. This is like domestic violence was 20 years ago. I want to make sure we can provide funding. I recommend the request start on the front end on the House side. If they see the love and compassion of you individuals, that will make the most impact.

CONCLUSION

Mike McMillan, Prospectors president

Prospectors Day in Santa Fe will be January 30.

Martinez

Great Job, Prospectors. This information is very helpful, believe me. Prospectors is the only group to allow us to hear from the community.

Hamilton

It’s been a good day.

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