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.

2013 Legislative Forum Transcript

Prospectors Legislative Communication Forum

Dec. 9, 2013

WNMU Besse-Forward Global Resource Center

Kim Clark:

Welcome. I would like to recognize all the Prospectors. (They stood up).

I would also like to recognize our sponsors: The Democratic and Republican parties for the breakfast; Western New Mexico University for the lunch; Gila Regional Medical Center for the afternoon snack and Southwest Bone & Joint for water for the Legislators.

We will be in Santa Fe for our annual trip Jan. 28-31. Jan. 29 is Grant County Day, and we will hold a reception that evening.

Prospector Cynthia Bettison will be our timer. Each presentation has a limit of eight minutes and the questions and answers should take no more than 4 minutes.

Now I would like to ask the legislators to speak.

Sen. Howie Morales:

How quickly a year goes by. This is probably the most important meeting of the year. We will go into the legislative session and will have the information to defend requests. The Finance Committee is meeting today in Santa Fe.

In 2009 we had a shortfall. I am curious to see what this year’s surplus will be. The budget, at $6 billion, is almost to the 2008 level.

We expect other issues in addition to the budget, such as the roll out of Centennial Care health care. Education is another topic. I think jobs will be brought forward. Infrastructure needs will have water at the top, with roads another one.

I’m thankful for all of you, and the notebooks you put together are extremely helpful for the session, Colonias, capital outlay and all the funding that comes into the area.

Rep. Dianne Hamilton:

It will be an interesting session. A lot of bills are being requested to be put on the governor’s call.

 I was talking to former Rep. Murray Ryan, and he said, that in 1969, the No. 1 problem was education. In 2013, it’s still education. We’ve tried so many things. Sometimes, I think if we just gave the funding to the principals and superintendents and let them alone, and get rid of the federal Education Department, it would work best.

I will be asking for money for the PTSD program.

Rep. Rodolpho “Rudy” Martinez:

This forum and our notebooks are one of our most important tools. Other communities are trying to model similar efforts. It’s an exceptional job that Prospectors do.

I have just returned from Washington, D.C., where I serve on the national conference of state legislators on education. We did an analysis. We expect 1½ percent growth in 2014, with New Mexico a little higher.

New Mexico is on target for sales tax and corporate taxes. In General Fund spending, we are expecting about a 4 percent increase.

Congress will take two votes on Dec. 15 and Jan. 15, where we have the potential to lose funding for law enforcement grants, Community Development Block grants and water and wastewater projects. If you write your Congressman, emphasize the needs to the delegation and for children and seniors.

The Appropriations Committee is already working on the budget. We will continue to work on it, starting Jan. 13. It all depends on where the revenues sit. Education, health care and infrastructure are top priorities.

We will be busy seeing what bills we can push forward.

Thank you for the forum. It’s always good to know the community’s needs.

EDCUATION PRESENTATIONS

 

Clark:

Thank you for the use of this building (to Dr. Joseph Shepard).

WNMU President Dr. Joseph Shepard:

I am impressed by the way Prospectors advocate for the area.

I will present two parts of our budget.

We will ask for $2 million to continue to Phase III of the Light Hall project. It was built in 1927. We want to replace the HVAC, replace the carpet and get rid of the pencil sharpeners.

We are asking for $6 million for Harlan Hall, our STEMH building. It was constructed in the 1960s. We want to renovate and modernize it into a modern science building.

Our request for $3.792 million for the Museum will continue the money already received for planning the security for the building. We want to put in HVAC for climate control, put in more security and a fire alarm. The NAN Ranch Collection makes the facility a top-notch museum.

The governor has recommended $1.792 million for the museum and Light Hall, but not Harlan Hall.

We’re supportive of the 2012 new funding formula. But given the timing, here’s something that occurred. We should have been funded for a master’s in social work and another in occupational therapy, which were $1.4 million underfunded. The formula took 2010 as the base, and we were $26,000 underfunded for coding, so social work was wrongly coded. WNMU was uniquely not funded. We also had a $480,000 cut in utilities. We have lost out on $4.8 million. One in five graduate students is not funded. One in four undergraduate students is not funded. I am asking for adjustments of $2.8 million or $1.7 million without the utilities.

Morales:

What is the recommendation to get on the appropriations?

Shepard:

I want to try to get it on the finance side, but the starting point is in House Appropriations. I’m not looking for back pay, but if you want to fund it, that’s OK with us.

It was a mixture of timing. The recession played a part. Now the formula is outcome-based, but social work and occupational therapy weren’t funded in the base.

Morales:

How do you like the three formulas?

Shepard:

We have to be cautious. One is for community colleges; one is for research institutions; and one for all. I think we can have one formula with different weights. NMSU President Carruthers is pushing for the sector specific. In both scenarios, we are blessed and cursed at the same time. We’re successful because we have research and the community college aspects. The worry is that UNM will begin to dominate. It depends on the way it is structured.

Morales:

Keep us updated.

Shepard:

I suspect you will hear some changes. You will hear how to negotiate.

Hamilton:

Is the new funding formula a detriment or a benefit?

Shepard:

I think we are benefitting to some extent. But we have a low graduation rate for 6-year graduation at only 20 percent. From the mine, they come to take courses and then go back to work. That does not benefit us.  It’s not a perfect formula, but it’s in the right direction.

Hamilton:

What about other institutions and the transferring of credits?

Shepard:

It is working better. We are working on a common nursing program across the state. We have seen an increase in transfers. Both ways it’s working better. Western has no business being in engineering. Tech does a great job, but we can prepare them for engineering.

Hamilton:

Thank you for the job you are doing.

Martinez:

The typical student graduates in an average of six years?

Shepard:

18 percent of our students graduate in six years. At UNM it is close to 50 percent and nationwide, it is 60 percent.

Title IV funding requires a full time as 12 hours, which in the past would have graduation in four years. But we have non-traditional students who work and go to school at the same time.

Martinez:

Should there be more advisors to push them forward?

Shepard:

The majority percentage of our students is over the age of 24. The six-year graduation requirement perhaps needs to be re-evaluated. Some transfer, so that works against us. Or, if they transfer in, neither counts toward our graduation rate. Maybe it should be redefined.

Martinez:

Do remedial courses count toward graduation?

Shepard:

Yes, but what was 120 credit hours needed for graduation is more likely 128 hours.

One in two of our classes is considered remedial. The seven to eight years to graduate counts against us.

____________________________________________

Early childhood education

Melissa Busby, Early Childhood Program director:

We receive $211,000 in a special appropriation. The Preschool Child Development Center serves 64 children, with 52 of them having a WNMU student as a parent, and four of them children of our staff members. The New Mexico pre-kindergarten program has 36 children. The Growing Tree infant/toddler program has 15, with nine of them having parents who are high school students. We have a waiting list of 136.

We work with occupational therapy and human services. The La Familia Training and Technical Assistance Program has four local venues, as well as in Doña Ana, Sierra and Lincoln counties.

The most important thing is quality. Quality matters for young children. Our lowest score is 96 percent and is over 100 percent in some area. It’s how we help children succeed.

Persistence rates continue at 79 percent. Most of the parents carry a bit higher course loads, with 12.44 hours versus the average WNMU student with 12.03. Most of the parents are in in bachelor’s or master’s degree programs.

The appropriation helps support us, as we continue to be a model program. We are also impacted by cuts to the Children, Youth and Families Department as well as to the university.

Thank you for being heroes to our program.

Hamilton:

Terry kept us so well informed and so do you. We appreciate your job. When you’re in Santa Fe, come to our offices and keep us informed.

Morales:

Thank you for your advocacy. Can you confirm that you are requesting to stay at the same level of funding?

Busby:

Yes.

Morales:

$8 million from CYFD was reverted back to the state. The funds already appropriated should be expended. We must keep CYFD on track. What is the role of CYFD with your program? It seems like it would be a benefit to you to be under an Early Childhood Education Department or under the Public Education Department. What are your recommendations?

Busby:

We have two programs—CYFD and PED— for the pre-K. Now we primarily get pre-K from CYFD. I think early childhood education development through them is working.

Morales:

It seems like monitoring and fulfillment is split. I know early childhood education is a huge topic, with 1 percent of the budget. One proposal is to tap into the Permanent Fund, but I don’t think it will go through.

Busby:

Having a permanent source of funding would be beneficial. Right now, it comes from the university, CYFD and families. Having permanent funding brings stability.

We are designing ways to improve quality. Most young children are in day care or home-based care. Raising quality for all helps all of us. The LFC showed that only pre-K makes a difference, but we have to improve the quality of education for those ages one to three, not just at age 4.

Morales:

I want to make sure it’s a quality program, and I want to promote for early childhood education.

Martinez:

I have quick questions. I commend you for your programs. You mention you had 136 on the waiting list. Is there a way to request the reverted funds for facility and staffing?

Busby:

I think it would be mostly facility. We can serve only eight infants. Most of our needs are infant and toddler care, which are the most expensive, too, with a ratio of 1 staff member for four infants.

Associated Students of WNMU

 Frida Gonzales:

Last year, we asked for $200,000 for technology updates in Wi-Fi and broadband. There has been a huge change. We can move between buildings with continuity.

One of our projects is Smart Classrooms, which involves interactive projects and lecture capture, as well as video conferencing, with a tech station and documentary camera. We are asking for $600,000 for the tech upgrade of 20 classrooms.

Most of our students are non-traditional. They need the ability to have access to a classroom, not just to listen to a lecture, but also to see and hear discussions.

This project has started with a couple around campus at the library. The IT Department is seeing an incredible way of professor/student interaction. It’s better for commuter students. Some professors have noted an increase in student performance. They have to see and hear to benefit.

The recreation center is another project, which would provide increased functionality of the pool to incorporate it into the classroom. We want to add a new weight room, add a basketball court and a sand volleyball court. We are asking for $1 million to renovate the pool and recreation center we already have.

Morales:

The $600,000 for classrooms would be in Light Hall?

Shepard:

Light Hall would come out of the $2 million we have. The other funding would be over the rest of the campus.

Morales:

 Maybe it can be joined with other university area representatives.

Gonzales:

$1 million is needed at one time.

Shepard:

It would augment what the students are putting in. For the recreation center we would keep two 25-meter lanes and make room for weight equipment. The basketball court and sand volleyball courts would be outside. They have also requested a portable stage. Yes, we can phase it in. A half million dollars a year would work.

Morales:

It comes from the severance fund, so I think it’s doable.

Martinez:

As far as the tech upgrades—is the campus fully Wi-Fi?

Gonzales:

Yes it is. The money requested would be for smart classrooms.

Martinez:

The recreational interest is by the students and the community. Could it be open to the community?

Gonzales:

Yes, it would be open to the community.

Shepard:

Yes, but because it would be state money, it wouldn’t be free. There would be memberships. We’re also open to a recreational therapy program. There is none in the state.

Martinez:

I think, with the representatives who represent Western, we can work on these.

Cobre Consolidated Schools

 

George Peru, facilities manager

We’re looking at construction of Bayard Elementary to be complete by July 2014. To make the gym larger, we are not able to bond. One inspector wants us to upgrade all systems. We need $400,000 to complete the gym. Our gymnasiums are open to the community. We were able to bond $10.8 million for Bayard Elementary.

Robert Mendoza, superintendent

This past Friday in Albuquerque, at the state superintendents’ meeting, all reported they are hurting trying to recruit first-year teachers. We are competing with El Paso schools and Arizona schools, which pay more. The pay in Texas is $22,000 to $45,000 and they are not tiered like we are.

We have a big gap in starting pay.  Please consider looking at recruitment, because we can’t compete and retain teachers.

Carrillo:

I will address the technology aspects. School assessments are done by computer. Students will begin doing practice tests on the computer. I’m not sure how it will work. We have not had all students testing at the same time. We’ve not gotten upgrades, and switches will have to be changed, with two or three per school at $40,000 per switch for 30-60 computers.

Over 100 are enrolled in each grade, so we will have to double the hardware.

$5.2 million was part of a request but we haven’t received the funding or even know how much we will receive.

Martinez:

On the needs of the number of computers, has the assessment of the number of computers been completed?

Carrillo:

We have to expand enough so that each grade level can assess at the same time. We may have to separate students, so they can’t compare notes. The computers we have now are ready.

Martinez:

Will the computers be compatible with the assessment tests?

Carrillo:

We need to upgrade most of the labs in the next one to two years. They will stand for this year.

Mendoza:

Often in the Mimbres Valley the system is down. We may have to bus them to Bayard.

Morales:

Will the $400,000 hit against your funding?

Peru:

Yes, it will be taken away. I think it will affect us on the back end, and it will affect us on future projects. That’s why we may have to go to the council.

Morales:

I want to bump up the starting teacher salary, while keeping the other educators in mind. I’m going to recommend a 3-5 percent increase for state employees.

It’s not your fault you are spending millions for testing. I would rather have that money go to the classrooms. It puts you in a tough situation.

Peru:

It affects all areas of the state.

Carrillo:

We have to move forward. We made the decision to go to computers this year to make sure we are ready for the requirement for next year. We are trying to stay in compliance.

Silver Consolidated Schools

 

Lou Streib, superintendent:

The system impacts us with matching funds. If grants could require fewer dollars for matching, it would allow us more projects.  Plus we have vendors’ expenses to bid out projects.

In process at Silver, we are completely redoing the infrastructure.

Please look at the formula to allow us to allocate money where we need it. If we could take textbook funding for technology, it would help. Most books are online now.

Ben Potts:

With all this testing coming up, our infrastructure was last updated in 2006 The state is asking for five students to one computer, and we have 3,000 students.  We are meeting all requirements.

There are 82,000 computers in schools statewide. About 40,000 of them are using Windows XP, which goes out in April. Right now, it looks like we’re ready, but, in April, those computers will be out of compliance.

There is not really any funding set aside for technology for education. We get reimbursed 78 percent for computer access and telephone. If you are at 90 percent, you can ask the federal government for funding.

$140,000 was spent on infrastructure, instead of technology for students or teachers. We are exploring grants, and trying to move money back into the classrooms.

Hamilton:

The money goes for infrastructure instead of where it’s needed. We patch until we replace.

Are teachers here as disgruntled about the evaluation process, as those I spoke to at a meeting in Las Cruces?

Streib:

In Silver schools, we are there to help, not to hinder. It is not us against them.

Hamilton:

In Las Cruces, I had teachers come to me telling me there is too much to do in too short of a time. For the teachers, it was a great concern.

Streib:

It is for us, too.

Morales:

Will the appropriation go through us or through the PED?

Streib:

Through the PED.

Morales:

Will it be a priority for the superintendents?

Streib:

It is.

Morales:

I will be happy to carry the bill.

_____________________________________________________________

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

 

Grant County

 

Brett Kasten, commission chairman:

Thank you for being here and hearing us.

Anthony Gutierrez, county planner:

Our ICIP has our legislative requests for this year.

For the Administration Center, we were allocated $300,000, but we have had issues with getting the final agreements done. $250,000 is directly related to how much we have already spent. We spent $100,000 on the front of the building, and money for the lift station for Fort Bayard is being reallocated to the building and for the Sheriff’s vault.

Our next priority is the Grant County Veterans’ Memorial Business and Conference Center. We had funding of $2 million from the EDA for the exterior and the parking lot, which they requested be done first. They said we would receive another $2 million for the interior, but now they have no money.

We want the interior fixed. The inside needs work. The size is good, but the utilization has been impacted. It was for a call center. I think we have the potential for entrepreneurship and incubators would be a plus.

Ace Hardware wants to expand. Data processing in the building needs to be updated. The call center cut all the lines when they left. We are requesting $200 million for planning and design.

Our third ICIP priority is for the courthouse. We are mandated to offer space for the District Judge. We are not able to do upgrades for the old building. $872, 000 would be required to get the electrical upgrade, so we can do renovations.

As the newly elected chairman of the Gila/San Francisco Water Commission, I ask the legislators to support the projects at the Interstate Stream Commission. We can get the data to you.

Hamilton:

This is so well documented, it will be easy to submit these requests, once Howie and Rudy tell us how much we have.

Morales:

I believe it will be a bit less this year. We know water will be a priority.

Jon Paul Saari, county manager:

Last year we received $100,000 for the front of the administration center and $200,000 for the Sheriff’s vault.

We have an issue with DFA. They sent to the town mayor our agreement. He sent the agreement back. Then the DFA told us we needed the survey, but didn’t send us the survey for the bond sale, because it was listed under the town, so we can’t get reimbursed. We’re worried we will be docked because we haven’t spent the money.

Hamilton:

There has been a lot of confusion.

Saari:

Everyone who knew anything at DFA is gone.

Kasten:

Our major concern is not to lose the money.

Martinez:

We know the difficulty. We need to be careful that the money is not re-allocated. And because of the timing, the county is also ineligible for bond funding.

Morales:

Your No. 1 priority is to finish the Sheriff’s vault and the building and $1.5 million for the courthouse?

Gutierrez:

We had to change the request because the need was higher due to the evaluation. We didn’t receive the evaluation until after the ICIP was submitted.

Saari:

We have to do a full electrical upgrade before any renovation.

Priscilla Lucero: SWNM COG director:

With regards to not seeing the grant go forward until the bond sale, once the bond sale occurs, we have to be vigilant so we don’t lose out.

Part of the confusion was that the county did a questionnaire for going to capital outlay. With regards to Grant County, it did go to the bond sale in June and the DFA should have issued an agreement.

Yes, Hurley and Bayard proposals are on tomorrow’s bond sale.

Morales:

Thank you for having your audit up to dater. There is no way to hold up your projects. I have argued for you with confidence.

Martinez:

Will we still have problems with the agreements after the bond sale?

Lucero:

The new DFA project manager is coming down next week and I will sit down with them. We are trying to keep following up on everything.

Martinez:

We just want to see the money come here.

Morales:

Sam Ojinaga and Barbara Romero—we thank them for their service, although they are no longer with DFA.

Town of Silver City

 

James Marshall, mayor:

A few projects have been completed. We’re waiting on the payments for Chihuahua Hill streets, and on agreements for the Scott Park lighting.  Vistas de Plata has four houses now and others starting. The Blackhawk sewer project is ongoing, as is our project using Colonias funding.

The regional water system is being reviewed by the Office of the State Engineer.

Our challenges include hold harmless. It could have a 22 percent negative impact on the town, which is about $1.2 million. If we activate the 3/8th percent gross receipts tax, it will give us $900,000, but our GRT would be 8.58 percent.

There is no tax increase at the state, but the state has moved it down to the local level.  We are asking just to keep us at neutral.

Funding delays continue. Gila Regional Medical Center was listed under County of Gila Regional.

Phase III of planning for Scott Park includes a concession stand and lights.

The town needs two additional rescue vehicles. There are huge cracks in the joints.

For Vistas de Plata, we continue to apply for every type of funding. The utilities are in for the next phase.

Martinez:

Before we ask questions, you have answers with information.

Your concern is the hold harmless impact to Silver City and the county, which lands on the shoulders of residents. We will keep an eye on it to minimize the impact to municipalities.

Morales:

Your audits are always in place on time. Every time I have a question you have answers. Is the funding there for the lights?

Alex Brown, town manager:

Yes, but not for the concession stand. The loans should be already approved, but they were taken back to the board for spending in February. We will go on and start by using $275,000 to order the lights. We’re hoping if we close in February, by the end of April, we should be completed.

Morales:

We will try to keep to break even on the hold harmless. It’s not doable to increase the gross receipts tax more.

Brown:

We’re the center for shopping for southwest New Mexico. On any given day we have 18,000 to 19,000 people in town. The whole issue is frustrating.

The only true portion of gross receipts tax is the one that used to be on food and medical services.

Our average growth over the past 10 years was 1.7 percent. The food and medical services average was 2.4 percent. We will lose the growth factor.

Morales:

We are seeing rural areas shrink.  Is the Municipal League going to present a solution?

Brown:

On the Senate side we need a tax overhaul, and putting the gross receipts tax back on medical services and food.

Looking at the low-income tax credit, there will be no impact on lower-income residents. The Bureau of Business and Economic Research is doing a study for good numbers.

Marshall:

An article I read showed the hold harmless didn’t have the affect that was intended.

Morales:

I will definitely advocate for changes to what passed last year.

I ask to have capital outlay requests to submit on the first day of the session.

Martinez:

Are you including questionnaires with the requests?

Lucero:

The state hasn’t released the questionnaires. We hope to have them the end of December or first of January.

Southwest Solid Waste Authority

 

Brown:

I am the representative this time. The Southwest Solid Waste Authority is for the whole county, but it provides curbside trash pickup in Silver City and recycling with roll-off bins in the county.

The authority has three capital outlay projects:

1)    a roll-off truck for stations in Grant County;

2)    upgrade the trucks at the authority; and

3)    a heavy-duty dump truck for curbside and recycling containers throughout the county.

There is an issue with landfill requirements. In 1995, we received a 20-year permit. We are in the process of re-permitting for the exact same area.

We have to put in place $1.9 million in closure costs, which creates a financial hardship. We expect the area to last another 30 years.

Morales:

What is your top priority?

Brown:

The roll-off truck.

Morales:

Is there any type of matching funds or is it solely capital outlay?

Lucero:

Correct, capital outlay.

Brown:

We just received funding for a wayside. Lucero said we can use Colonias funding for the closure money, but we only rank well is we have the closure funds.

Martinez:

Does the re-permitting include sludge?

Brown:

We did an amendment last year on the sludge, which will be included in the new permit. We have no problems with the sludge. We are meeting all compliance.

City of Bayard

 

Charles Kelly, mayor:

You have the requests in front of you. Kristi Ortiz, our clerk, will give you a quick rundown.

Ortiz:

We need upgrades for the water distribution system, including reconstruction of the water distribution line and the water meter systems.

We do have Colonias funding, but we are waiting to receive the documents. The funding with the USDA is on hold because it didn’t have waste distribution. We should get $700,000 from the USDA.

Our second priority is the Bayard Community Cemetery. We have $150,000 left on the legislative allocation, and it was included in the bond sale. We are requesting capital outlay for Phase II.

The third priority is the Stewart Street crossing. We are waiting for funds. The state doesn’t provide enough.

Fourth, we want to purchase two fully equipped police vehicles.

Morales:

What is the dollar amount for the water distribution system?

Ortiz:

We have Colonias infrastructure funds, but we need the 10 percent match for the loan. It’s $40,000.

Morales:

The administrative rule is that the Senate cannot approve capital outlay for less then $100,000, and the House no less than $50,000.

Ortiz:

We are applying for $400,000. The rest would be USDA.

Morales:

What about the Department of Transportation and the cemetery entranceway?

Ortiz:

That has been resolved. We’re just waiting on the grant agreement.

Martinez:

Will all the construction of the entranceway be done by Bayard?

Ortiz:

Yes. We’ve been using $150,000 for engineering for the project.

Martinez:

There is a possibility that Congress will exclude water and wastewater projects. It is a concern.

Ortiz:

The line has been washed out four times in the past four years. We need to get it fixed.

Town of Hurley

 

Edward Encinas, mayor:

The funding from the Office of the Natural Resources Trustee is almost complete, with $80,000 going back.

We will start on ???? in May. Another one is delayed by the funding. Colonias is ongoing, with approvals for planning and construction.

The lift station is in dire need of repair.

From Colonias, we have $500,000, but we are waiting for the design.

I opened a dialogue with Freeport McMoRan for an extension on our water issue. We have three years left. We haven’t heard back.

Our water project is part of the regional water plan. We are looking for 750 acre-feet.

For the cemetery, we had a 5.3 acres donated. We have to do a survey and engineering to increase the size.

Heating for the swimming pool, we want to get done. We received a couple of quotes—one for $65,000 and another for $80,000. We would have the only baby pool in the area.

Our audits are up to date.

Hamilton:

I was sorry to lose part of Hurley in the redistricting.

Morales:

Maita always gets with us. The COG will be fiscal agent for oversight?

Lucero:

The contract has already been submitted to the DOT. We will sign up for procurement regulations. We just need a grant agreement.

Morales:

I hope the fiscal agent and oversight are well documented.

Lucero:

The Hurley Pride Committee wanted to ask for funding for the swimming pool, but it could not. Things were not in place, so the only funding will be capital outlay.

Martinez:

Is there any unspent capital outlay funding? Has the Hurley water improvement been expended?

Encinas:

Yes, it has.

Village of Santa Clara

 

Richard Bauch, mayor:

Our first priority is a critical request for SCADA and rewiring the system for the water wells.

Second is remodeling of the community center

And third is fire station improvements, as well as flood control.

Morales:

Thank you and your trustees for getting the audits done.

Bauch:

We are up-to-date on our audits.

Morales:

That is huge for you for any funding.

Make sure you have all the language correct on the requests.

Bauch:

The first project will help us conserve water.

Martinez:

The audits really open up opportunities to assist the village with funding from all sources.

Lucero:

The funding request also includes replacement of the fire hydrants.

I am struggling with convincing the Colonias Board with ranking the need for SCADA.

Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments

 

Lucero:

In Colonias funding, all of the 13 2012 award agreements for $3.4 million are in place. There is also reversion money to be handed out.

We have 10 awards for $4.4 million for 2013, but no grant agreements yet. We are approaching the next funding cycle, with March 2014 for the applications to be in.

We are working on a broadband implementation in the four-county area. Part of the application required assessments from the schools, local governments and the university. We are really lacking in the area. We are one of two pilot implementation projects in the state.

We need to know what areas are unserved and which ones are underserved.

The overarching goal is to tap into USDA dollars.

The Community Development Block Grants were almost cut in half at $8 million this year. They won’t be due until May. They are really lagging this year.

I am heartfelt about Vistas de Plata. One family I know of now has their own home. They are in their 70s. One Habitat for Humanity home is already occupied and another two are building.

Emily Gojkovic, COG economic development planner:

We have put in a PROMISE application, which came to us through the Stronger Economies Together program. It is an Obama initiative, through the USDA, HUD and other agencies.

We are also a part of the Certified Communities Initiative. Grant County and Hurley have taken advantage of it. We have gone to trade shows.

We are working on a statewide economic development plan. On Dec. 16, from 3-7 p.m., we will be holding a public input session. It’s come and go at the Grant County Business and Conference Center.

Lucero:

The Promise initiative is available to the 20 communities in the area. They are invited to apply for education, economic development and law enforcement programs.

Hamilton:

I don’t know how you do all you do. If I have a question, I just have to call.

Martinez:

I echo that.

Morales:

You have brought so much to the community. I appreciate the amount of time you spend so that every word is correct.

For economic rural development, I didn’t see any legislation to endorse.

Lucero:

It is being put together. I think the request is for another $50,000 per COG.

Morales:

I think it would be a wise investment.

What about the website portal?

Lucero:

 Emily keeps it up-to-date. She has everything on it that is required and it is constantly updated.

That has been one of the disconnects. Local governments have to update their sites. Some of the clerks don’t have a clue.

We have presented to the committee that training is needed on the way to use the portal, especially in the capital improvement funding process, but it won’t be ready by the legislative session.

I commend my staff, which works extra hours on projects to benefit local communities.

_____________________________________

 

Alex Ocheltree, owner of Billy’s Wild West BBQ

This is an opportunity for me to present an idea—a New Mexico Tavern License.

I’m talking about the plight of downtown Silver City, actually all New Mexico downtowns. They need entertainment, bars, restaurants, shopping.

Bisbee is a good example of what could be.  They have no resources, but the town is vital and thriving with bars and shops.

New Mexico has awkward liquor laws. Too many people have their retirement and mortgages based on liquor licenses.

A New Mexico Tavern License would allow only New Mexico liquor, New Mexico wine and New Mexico beer. It is an idea for New Mexico producers to have a place to market their products.

The license would not be available to Applebee’s or CVS or other large outfits. It would be strictly for rural counties. The licensee would have to be a resident of the county, with ownership at least 50 percent being a resident.

Food doesn’t have to be a part of it. We want to shut off sales at midnight, but dancing or food could continue after midnight.

Having a craft distillery is awkward and difficult, including for Little Toad Creek. Funding it is hard to do. The state requires 1000 gallons a year or 5000 bottles. I recommend lowering it to 250 gallons for the first three years. The license would allow direct distribution to taverns.

It is trying to put a tweak in the liquor laws. It would be good for tourism. With food, there is a responsibility issue.

If insurance sees an outfit as a bar, premiums are high, but if the gross revenue is less that 50 percent for liquor, then the premiums are lower. That’s why food or dancing or other entertainment should be part of the tavern.

Morales:

This idea has been discussed in the economic development committee and several other interim committees.

It is a complex issue. One of the recommendations is that not enough emphasis will be given to it in the 30-day session.

You, Alex, will be called to be a presenter to the Liquor Licenses Task force. I think we can come up with comprehensive liquor license laws that will bring revitalization of rural areas.

Hamilton:

One thing that hit me was how different small towns were 50 years ago. We’ve been here 40 years and we had downtown shops and a drugstore. We have to find a way to keep small towns viable.

I think one way is to get more people downtown. I support your effort.

Martinez:

I carried a bill last year. Nineteen liquor licenses are sitting, purchased as retirement, and now they can’t sell them because of stipulations.

A Tavern License would be a great opportunity for individuals to open new businesses. It will take a full comprehensive look at the liquor laws.

_____________________________________________

LUNCH BREAK

_________________________________________________________

 

NON-PROFITS

 

National Center for Frontier Communities

 

Susan Wilger and Danielle Moffett

 

Wilger:

We both work at Hidalgo Medical Services, but we are representing the National Center for Frontier Communities.

Non-profits are of huge value to the community, both in jobs and social value. They bring in $468 million to the state. One in every 20 jobs is with a non-profit.

The Non-Profit Center transitioned from The Wellness Coalition to the National Center for Frontier Communities, because one of our priorities is non-profit capacity. We want recognition for non-profits.

We are proposing New Mexico take a more proactive approach with non-profits. We propose a work group for non-profits to continue to provide jobs.

Morales:

I have an update for you. I see benefits, but did not endorse it on the economic development side, because I believe it should come in from the finance side. I have identified a bill sponsor.

Moffett:

The national center is part of the Center for Health Innovations.

We have the Forward New Mexico program now, which is a package of projects to address the New Mexico medical care access shortage.

We have been implementing the program for three years, and we want to expand it.

Research has shown that medical professionals from rural areas trained in rural areas come back to the rural area to serve.

We have a five-stage model:

1)    The youngest students we are serving are middle and high school. We have impacted 1,300 students a year through school-based health clubs and other activities;

2)    At the college level, we have impacted 125 with mentoring and other support;

3)    In medical school, we provide rotations and housing, with 60-65 rotating into the community for two weeks to six weeks at a time;

4)    We have a family medical residency, with two medical residents and we are interviewing for two more. We can have six at a time, with two at the University of New Mexico and four here; and

5)    We are supporting health care services.

Grant County is one of only three counties in the nation that is above average for the ratio of health care workers to the number of residents.

We run the local program, with $300,000 augmented with local applicants. We propose to expand Forward New Mexico to four hubs in the state.

Hamilton:

I will soon return to attending the HMS board meetings.

Martinez:

I congratulate you on providing services to rural communities.

Morales:

What is the appropriation amount?

Moffett:

We are asking for $1.5 million, with $700,000 for the hub and spoke and $100,000 per hub.

 

Morales:

We will have to put it in the front side of the budget. Give it to Rep. Martinez.

What about your cash flow?

Moffett:

We have a strong agreement, but we have been assured that it is moving along on someone’s desk.

Morales:

Let us know.

Hanover Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association

 

Eddie Evatt:

We serve 104 households. We spend $900 a month to supplement our wells with Bayard water.  We have a well down.

Match funs are always a problem. We need $406,000 to find another source of water, whether by drilling another well or going deeper on one we have.

Morales:

You have a well down?

Evatt:

The drought hurt us. The water table is below where the well is and it quit pumping in November. We figured it out in January. Well No. 1 is our primary and we can get 25 gallons a minute, but we periodically have to shut it off to recoup the water. Then we get about 13 gallons a minute.

Lucero:

They are their own fiscal agent.

Morales:

Do new rules impact water associations?

Lucero:

The rules are under review. I don’t know if Colonias funding will be impacted. I don’t know about the executive order and how it impacts the Water Trust Board.

Morales:

There is a lot of difference for an audit for you than for the city of Albuquerque.

Lucero:

The mutual domestics don’t have staff for budgets.

We need to determine what tier we have and what tier certification we need.

They are also considering including mutual domestic water associations in the uniformity of budgets. That will be tough, because they don’t have enough staff to address all the mutual domestic budgets.

Morales:

How much funding do you need for matching?

Lucero:

The request is $429,754 possibly for Colonias, but it is difficult to do away with the loan requirements, which is 10 percent.

Morales:

It seems like a disadvantage here. It is a huge concern.

Lucero:

This is only one of the water associations dealing with this issue. It is also hard to get planning money to do engineering studies.

Martinez:

How many acre-feet of water do you have?

Evatt:

Thirty-five, but we are pumping only about 19 or 20.

Martinez:

Have you had to increase water rates?

Evatt:

Thirty days ago, we raised them to a base of $32 plus $1.50 per 1,000 gallons.

Martinez:

This is an important issue.

Lucero:

The fees they are paying Bayard for emergency water is depleting their budget.

Evatt:

We put in a brand new pump, but we’re just out of water. We have paid Bayard $14,000 for water since the first of the year.

Hamilton:

We have to see if we can do something to help you.

Lucero:

 I will review the request and get it to you.

Bridge Community

 

Don Trammell:

We are a 501c3, with the mission to provide appropriate affordable housing for seniors over the age of 55.

Our services would be a continuum of care from independent living to assisted living, from memory care to skilled nursing and hospice. We will also allow home health services from outside to come into the facility. Adult day care will also be offered.

We began this with a group of adults from a Sunday School class. We called it Faith Community, but because our original intent was to include everyone, we changed the name to Bridge Community. We want a broad diverse population in the facility.

We are working to increase our board to 13 members.

We are concerned by the large number of single women and veterans in substandard housing. Also of concern are couples where one needs helping. Often the caregiver precedes the ill one in death.

New Mexico has one of the higher percentages of its population over the age of 65 years, with southwest New Mexico even more so.

We have raised nearly $300,000. Using a Freeport McMoran Grant and a generous landowner, we bought 10 acres off the ByPass Road.

A Casper, Wyoming, consultant is updating our feasibility and business plan.

The comment we hear most often is: “When can I move in?”

We want to have a full range of care, so no one has to relocate when he or she needs a change of care. The nearest providers of continuing care are in Las Cruces.

The feasibility study will help us decide how large a facility we need.

We will continue to apply for grant to keep the care affordable.

We want to develop a foundation to allow those who run out of money to be able to stay.

Hamilton:

Your proposal impresses me. It is similar to a home in Kansas City where a retarded cousin of mine lives.

Any idea of when you can break ground?

Trammell:

We have set a goal of five years.

Martinez:

This is absolutely right. We need more of these facilities. How will it be funded?

Trammell:

It will be self-pay, with the person buying into it. Each year, the amount they will receive if they leave will decrease by 5 percent. We will also take Medicaid and Medicare.

For veterans, so many are by themselves in substandard housing, so we would accept VA funds.

Morales:

The feasibility study was supposed to be ready by Dec. 1?

Trammell:

A snowstorm knocked out the consultants’ computers, so they asked for an extension.

Morales:

How could this work with government funds?

Trammell:

We plan to apply for USDA funding and NMFA could provide loans.

Lucero:

A small amount of USDA funding is in grants, but it is primarily loans. NMFA is where we’re heading, but we’re not sure because of HUD. It is an economic development venture, but it would still be a loan. It has to funnel to local government.

Morales:

You should work with local governments.

Lucero:

All local governments must go to the council. If there are any funds, we have to make sure they spend them expeditiously.

Trammell:

We are also looking at the possibility of bonding.

Morales:

I would like to see the feasibility plan.

Lucero:

My recommendation is to have a public meeting once the plan is received. There will be a huge cost with the wastewater issue.

Martinez:

Could it be public/private?

Lucero:

That is a possibility. La Vida Llena had a desire to run the facility.

Fort Bayard Historic Preservation Society and Fort Bayard Restoration and Development Coalition

 

Cecilia Bell, FBHPS president: (she showed a PowerPoint with photos and text)

Thank you for being here and listening to us.

We have two projects and two groups, but we work hand-in-hand.

There is no current project at Fort Bayard. Last year, we put in a request for heating for the theater. Then there was money allocated to demolish the hospital. No money has been used to demolish the hospital or to heat the theater.

If we cannot get heating and be able to lock the doors and windows, the theater will be a white elephant like the biomass plant.

Yucca Lodge clients work with us once a week. The first time, they were all eyes down, the second time a small smile and heads up. From the third time on, we have eye-to-eye contact. They have cleaned ditches, painted the Commanding Officer’s quarters, and put in a handrail for the steps. Basically, we have given $6941 to the state.

We ask that the theater be updated so it can be utilized.

Our big barrier is whether Fort Bayard is going to be sold. We met in Santa Fe with the Department of Health, Historic Preservation and the General Services Department. The GSD director said he wants to maintain the structures and the cultural history.

Ansel Walters:

I am the president of the coalition. Our major objective is to pursue the sale and development of Fort Bayard. The coalition has reached the executive branch level of government in New Mexico.

It became obvious that no department was funded to do maintenance. Each thought the other was maintaining it, but no one has maintained it since 2010.

The state put out an ad program for expressions of interest in purchasing Fort Bayard. Each of the dozen interested will fill out a questionnaire by Dec. 20. And then other reports will be required.

All questions about the expression of interest are due to Elizabeth Jeffries by Dec. 13.

Morales:

Thank you for working together.

Bell:

Our request is the same as last year to fix up the theater.  We didn’t put it out again because the sale of the property is in limbo.

Morales:

The theater is doable. A capital outlay request should come through you. Please submit it.

We don’t know what direction the state is going now. The theater is on state property, so funding can come from statewide dollars.

Lucero:

What if it’s not on anyone’s ICIP?

Morales:

Keep it separate. Put in the applications and we can put in for the dollars.

Martinez:

Property Control is now under the General Services Department as Facility Maintenance, so the request should go through GSD.

You may also be able to set aside certain buildings.

Walters:

We were told that the DOH has asked for 50-70 acres, with 20 going to the national cemetery and 100 for veterans. We have written interest from 22 different local organizations, which want to use certain buildings.

Martinez:

Fort Bayard is also a national historic landmark. Has anybody contacted the congressional delegation for funding?

Bell:

The National Parks Service said it had funding for planning.

Martinez:

I suggest talking to the congressional delegation. Do we want to direct effort toward preserving the site, toward a public/private partnership or as a state park?

Bell:

The national historic landmark designation would remain even if the hospital were taken down.

Hamilton:

I see so many people so interested in keeping Fort Bayard viable and volunteering for so many years. You don’t give up.

Bell:

Is there any way to get you three together with the congressional delegation? You say you want us to talk to the federal government, but they say it is state-owned.

Morales:

Get the request submitted for capital outlay. We will try to take it from statewide funding.

Gila Conservation Coalition (transcriber’s note: Several of the items Siwik spoke of as if they were fact, were, in fact, wrong and misleading. For facts, talk to Anthony Gutierrez, Grant County planner, whose head was shaking in disagreement throughout the presentation.)

 

Allyson Siwik, director:

I want to give you an update on the Arizona Water Settlements Act process. It will be a big topic this year. It was signed in 2004 and settled Native American issues in Arizona and allocated 14,000 average annual acre-feet of water from the Gila River in exchange for Central Arizona Project water.  In non-reimbursable funding, $66 million was allocated for the four counties to meet water supply demands.

If New Mexico chooses to construct a New Mexico unit, there is an additional $34 million to $62 million based on interest in the Lower Colorado River Basin Fund.

The Gila Conservation Coalition has three major concerns.

A Gila River diversion is expensive, costing $200 million to $300 million. The area has to pay exchange costs of $2 million annually for the water.

A diversion is unnecessary, because we are sitting on a lot of water in southwest New Mexico. Other alternatives are more cost-effective.

The third major issue will be the impact.  A diversion will take water from high flows, but also from low flows.

In 2014, the state will make a preliminary decision in August, with the final decision coming in November, whether or not to divert. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Interstate Stream Commission are doing studies. Some are ready now.

The ISC is looking at preliminary engineering reports and modifying projects.

We at the coalition are concerned about transparency. There is still a huge lack of information available.

Our principal concern is what is the legislative role in the AWSA decision. What is the tension between the legislative and executive branches?

The high cost of the water and the lack of transparency are a concern, when non-diversion projects can provide plenty of water.

Martinez:

Does the ISC have to submit one project or several?

Siwik:

The ISC did say it could approve one or a group. It will be unclear until August.

Martinez:

The original funding to meet water supply demands was $66 million. Has it increased?

Siwik:

In 2013 dollars, it is about a $90-million non-reimbursable pot of money.

Martinez:

At the Drought Subcommittee meetings, they discussed what direction to take—municipal or agricultural.

Morales:

Thank you for the update. In the Senate Finance Committee, we don’t have much to do with it. It is in the hands of the ISC. I am not clear what our role will be. Will it be at the ISC’s discretion?

Siwik:

That is a concern for us. Section 2.12 of the act says the ISC shall make the decision. I don’t know if there is a legislative role.

Morales:

I will keep an eye on it. There are a lot of questions. What are the checks and balances for the proper process?

Siwik:

The New Mexico Unit Fund requires reporting to the LFC and the Water and Natural Resources Committee at a minimum. There is opportunity there for legislators to ask questions.

The ISC has to approve staff recommendations in public meetings.

Martinez:

The section you cited. Is that in the federal or state legislation?

Siwik:

In the federal AWSA.

Silver City MainStreet Project

 

Francis Bee, manager:

I want to tell you what MainStreet does. (He read the mission and vision statements). It encourages a vibrant historic downtown and economic development.

MainStreet is active in economic development, beautification and design work, as recommended by the New Mexico MainStreet Program. We have done projects that are bricks and mortar, including the sidewalks, the Big Ditch Park, building the Visitor Center and putting in streetlights.

We are now working with the town of Silver City on the Silco Theater.

We work with the Historic Preservation Division, NM MainStreet, the Department of Economic Development and for renovations with the NM Finance Authority.

We are also working with the Silver City Police Department on developing best practices for minimizing crime and nuisance.

We are in dialogue with the state Film Office and have participated in the town Forestry Plan and the Big Ditch Development Plan.

What is the Silco Theater renovation about?

According to Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela, he sees the Theater District as an economic development tool.  MainStreet is managing the project for the town. We recently reconstructed the marquee. Once the renovations are complete, we think we will have people take the extra step to purchase or lease the building.

Our request for monies is indirect through New Mexico MainStreet.

In June, we received $170,000 toward purchase of the theater. NMFA helped arrange the loan. Then we received $137,500 in capital outlay. We need $300,000 additional to complete the renovation. The $137,500 will be used to remove non-historic artifacts from the building

We also want to continue to develop the River Walk and the MainStreet Plaza, known to most as the Farmers’ Market, into an area to include a stage. The full budget is available.

Hamilton:

When will the theater be completed?

Bee:

By the fourth of July.

Hamilton:

Will it be a commercial theater?

Bee:

It won’t be for first-run movies, but we will get movies 6-8 weeks after the first run. The operator of the theater will keep more of the receipts, and the rent will pay off the loan for the office space.

Hamilton:

I know so many people go to Deming for movies. Will the Silco be used for anything else?

Bee:

While we are renovating, no rent will be coming in the first year. Then we will close again to reopen the orchestra pit and balcony to be a performing art venue in addition to films.

Morales:

It will take $350,000 to complete. At the last Finance Committee meeting, we asked Barela what his plans were. We were asked to appropriate $500,000 for all the MainStreet porjects. Barela indicated that part of the Silco would be paid from private donations.

Bee:

Elmo Baca knows where we are.

Morales:

We will still push for the statewide dollars. I will talk to Elmo.

Bee:

I know other MainStreet projects are also asking for substantial sums.

Mimbres Region Arts Council

 

Faye McCalmont, executive director:

The Mimbres Region Arts Council has provided 34 years of services to the community. We produce some of the largest events. It is cultural tourism.

We ask for your support for an increase in service contracts to the arts councils through New Mexico Arts, as well as to Tourism Co-op funding. We partner with the Silver City Arts and Cultural District.

Morales:

We appreciate your work cooperating with other agencies.

The appropriation side is through Cultural Affairs. We give the amount to the department. How do you receive funding?

McCalmont:

We have a competitive process. Our funding has decreased from $15,000 to $7,000.

Morales:

I ask you to send me numbers.

Martinez:

Is your operating budget based on what you receive from Cultural Arts?

McCalmont:

We have a $350,000 budget, but we get only $7,000 from the state. We are creative in getting other funding. That’s why we partner. We use the state funding for administration, staff and myself for events.

Martinez:

Please give the information to us.

___________________________________________

Silver City Arts and Cultural District

 

George Julian Dworin, director:

The arts and cultural district was established in 2007. Silver City was one of the two pilot arts and cultural districts. Today we are the model for others. We partner with local and state partners for sustainable tourism and economic development.

One of our partners is the Silver City Clay Festival. We manage marketing for Silver City and partner with the Southwest New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce for the Visitor Center. We cross-promote with 16 arts and arts and cultural districts across the state.

There are three new ones, bringing the total to nine arts and cultural districts in the state.

There is a missing piece. In 2007, the Legislature created an Arts and Cultural District Fund for streetscape projects, but the fund has never been capitalized by the state. We will ask for $1 million for the Arts and Cultural District Fund. It would make us eligible to apply for funds and matching federal funds.  It is on the town ICIP.

We’ve done a lot without funding.

Hamilton:

So many things would be awesome with funding. I wish you well.

Morales:

Will MainStreet be asking for funding? That is two pots of money.

Dworin:

There are two pots. We are distinct from MainStreet projects. We are under MainStreet as a separate fund.

Morales:

What do you think about the Department of Tourism New Mexico True campaign?

Dworin:

It is fantastic.  It provides us with a one-to-one dollar match and provides a reach to a national audience.  We’re promoting on a regional basis.

Tour of the Gila

 

Jack Brennan, race director:

We are asking for help finding funds for the Tour of the Gila. The Tour of the Gila is regarded as the fourth most important race in the country, after the Tour of California, the Tour of Utah and the Men’s Pro Challenge. The other three are men’s only races and cost $2.6 million for TV coverage. They are multi-million dollar events.

The Tour of the Gila budget is $280,000 to $300,000 and is for men and women, pro and amateur.

It’s quite a credit to us to be in the top tier of races after 27 years. Our race is considered to be the hardest women’s race in North America.

Why are we asking for funding?  We are maxxed out. Our sponsors locally bring us mostly $100 to $250 each.

We are always looking for other sponsorships. We ask for the state of New Mexico to sponsor us. We would like to spend money on Internet live streaming. For TV, it would cost us $600,000, which we don’t have.

There are so many improvements in technology, the cost of live streaming is decreasing.

We would like to contract with Kent Gordis. We met him at a United Sports Athletic Association promoters’ meeting. He sees the benefit of live streaming. It would cost $100,000, which is still a lot of money, but we could showcase Grant County, Silver City and the Tour of the Gila.

We see the Tour of the Gila helping to showcase all of New Mexico as a bicycling destination to bring bicyclists here.

Hamilton:

We all admire what you’ve done. How will you be able to view the race?

Brennan:

On our website, on cyclingnews.com on your smarphone or tablet. Silver City is the title sponsor.

Hamilton:

In our travels we see so many cars with bicycles on them.

Brennan:

We want to see them here.

Martinez:

As far as funding from New Mexico, is the Department of Tourism participating with you?

Brennan:

No. It all goes to advertising in San Diego, Chicago, New York and Houston. I think that’s wrong. We ARE New Mexico True, giving them an authentic adventure. We’ve been doing it for years and years.

Martinez:

We see the Balloon Festival everywhere.

Brennan:

Not from Tourism.

Martinez:

The Tour of the Gila is also economic development. Haven’t they come forward?

Brennan:

No, but we haven’t reached out to them. Just to Tourism.

Martinez:

I think you should reach out to them. By having the Tour of the Gila in the state, does it bring smaller races?

Brennan:

It makes us a bicycle-friendly community. We have had a discussion about a 12-hour mountain-biking event at Fort Bayard.

Morales:

I have an update. We heard from Jacobson that she thinks some funding should go to operations. There is $600,000 in cooperative funding. We could get some here.

Forgotten Veterans Memorial

 

Armando Amador and José Ray, Vietnam veterans

 

Amador:

We have been very creative about doing what we think is important for the community. We started the project in 1992.

We have a request for $250,000 for flagpoles, a reflection center, benches for people who come to the memorial and solar system for the lights to be on 24/7.

Now we are doing the groundwork. What do we need? We want to be purchasing tractors. Our priority is a metal building for a workshop and an storage for equipment.

We want to put in a fountain base, which helps release tension, with the soothing sound of the water. We want a tower like in Vietnam, which was holding the ground on the perimeter, and we want a World War II artillery tank.

We have cemented some of the area to control erosion. We think we have done one helluva job. Keeping the memorial up helps us with PTSD. When visitors visit, it speaks to their hearts. Some donate time and monies. The Town and Country Garden Club built the rock wall as a donation.

Why we feel comfortable asking for funding is because the community is supporting us.  We feel blessed there. The bronze statue was donated. We continue doing our best.

Hamilton:

I was there for a ceremony, and I talked to a man, who sat there with tears, because of what it meant to him to find a wonderful place.

Morales:

It impresses me that through volunteering what you do out there. We want to find an opportunity to find a good project to finish. I’m not so sure we can get the $390,000 needed to complete it.

Amador:

That’s just a projection.

Morales:

The state wants to see projects that are begun completed. Make sure these are accurate numbers.

Lucero:

I’m not sure a survey is required. I’m not sure there is a request to Grant County lately. This one is from the 1990s.

Amador:

I talked to Saari, Kasten and Ramos to be the fiscal agent. They said we are part of the county.

Morales:

Be able to show the paperwork. I would like to see it a completed project.

Martinez:

You are a 501c. Are you a 4 or 5?

Amador:

We are a 501c.

Lucero:

I was not aware of the designation.

Amador:

The first time was with Rep. Herrera. He said we could not do it except through Santa Clara, but it changes every year.

Martinez:

Look at your bylaws. I think you fall under the umbrella of the national organization.

________________________________________________________

HEALTHCARE

 

GRMC

 

Brian Cunningham, CEO

We have been through the transition. I’m proud of what we’ve done in a short time. We replaced all the C-level leadership with internal candidates. We are aligning to meet the needs of the hospital and the community.

We are a county-owned not-for-profit 68-bed hospital.

We serve 63,000 people from an area of 17,000 square miles, larger than Massachusetts and Connecticut.

We serve with the Cancer Center. The hospital does not receive county subsidizing, but relies on public funding, with a high level of Medicaid.

We offer patient-centered care, with 700 caregivers and medical providers. Quality care in the right amount at the right time every time.

Everything is changing. The whole reimbursement structure is a challenge to us and all hospitals.

It requires working better with the physicians and caregivers.

The challenge is a workforce shortage of health care workers. We also have a significant challenges in infrastructure needs with a major shift from inpatient care to outpatient care.

We have a $30 million payroll, with an additional $8.5 million in benefits.

In fiscal year 2013, we had a $9 million shortfall. It has been a challenge to turn it around. We have had a $2.5 million decrease in expenses for the first four months of the fiscal year. We are insuring that everything is value-added.

We are doing more with less and are better than ever before. We are focused on customers, patients, the community and medical providers.

With funding from House Bill 580, we are purchasing and installing a new linear accelerator for cancer care. We are halfway through the project.

We provide 400 deliveries a year, 4,000 surgeries and 18,000 outpatient procedures.

Hamilton:

I’m glad to see a new cardiologist in town. When my husband saw his cardiologist in Albuquerque, he said to talk to our new one.

Martinez:

I appreciate the direction you’re taking with GRMC. Grant County appreciates it. Gila Regional is one of our most important operations here in the county. I thank you and the staff.

Cunningham:

It’s a team effort.

Morales:

For true quality of life, the hospital has to be a part.

Do you have a quick update on HSD and the sole community provider funding?

Elizabeth Allred, chief financial officer:

We jokingly say, there’s lot of action, but no progress.

The state wants to intercept 1/8 percentage of the county’s gross receipts tax to run Centennial Care to get the three-to-one federal match. We have no real information.

The state said it would raise the Medicaid rate, but the sides are ever more firmly entrenched.

The counties are united and feel the money won’t be divided appropriately to rural hospitals. The county still has the responsibility for health care to its citizens.

I think it will happen in the session. We’re available to answer questions.

Morales:

The concerns are there in all the rural communities.

Help us make the argument. We need to know the possible solutions.

Allred:

If the funding doesn’t come from the counties, we miss the federal match. Without the $250 million to $300 million, all the hospitals will suffer. I’ve never seen it in writing, but without the funding to get the match, it severely impacts the counties.  I think if the counties could get something written, something sure, it would help. They feel jerked around.

HSD got in trouble with CMS and the current indigent program ends Dec. 31.

Cunningham:

If you can help clarify with HSD, whether if the money goes to HSD, if it also comes back to the counties.

Morales:

If it goes to the HMOs then money is skimmed off.

Martinez:

Beth, I want to thank you for telling it like it is at a committee meeting.

Are you aware of two separate funds being created to reimburse 100 percent?

Allred:

One would increase Medicare rates and would benefit the larger hospitals. The second is an uncompensated pool for smaller hospitals.

Martinez:

We need to stay on top of it. We don’t want to place a burden on smaller hospitals.

Grant County Community Health Council

 

Tiffany Knauf, coordinator:

I have updates and what the funding is being used for.

We have a mandate to exist, but we are unfunded by the state. We have survived using unencumbered funding and Gila Regional has provided us ongoing funding to keep us working. It’s not sustainable. Other health councils across the state don’t have these resources.

We, last year, completed the community assessment and are working on the plan.

We represent 30 sectors in the county and we have two new members pending—Robert Mendoza, Cobre superintendent, and Brian Cunningham.

In our assessment survey, we had the highest response rate in the state—one in four in the county—and I haven’t found a higher rate in the nation.

The profile draft is complete. The assessment showed the community’s perception of needs matched with local, state and federal data. We educate and share with community partners and providers to enhance grant applications. The 2007 Community Assessment, which had a 10 percent response rate brought into the county more than $15 million.

For our Community Health Improvement Plan, we have four priorities—Behavioral Health, Community Health/Safety, Family Resiliency and Interpersonal Violence. There are focus areas under each priority.

Last year, the Legislature gave $195,000 to the Department of Health for health councils. There were three options, of which we chose No. 3, community health improvement cycles, because we had already completed options 1 and 2. Eighteen of 23 counties chose options 1 or 2. We are excited to help those who chose option 1 or 2.

The Health Council does not provide services. We assess, plan, collaborate and coordinate around our priorities to make a difference, through grant applications, community education, trainings, process improvement and coordinated community outreach events.

We will ask for $900,000 to fund health councils across the state, which would provide $25,000 to each council.

Hamilton:

I appreciate what you do. You identify areas we need to work on.

Knauf:

We have 30 members to represent different sectors. We meet quarterly, with a board of seven—the steering committee—meeting monthly.

Martinez:

I served on the board a short time. How is the information disseminated to agencies and the public?

Knauf:

Through the community profile. The community knows that the profile helps on grant applications. We put out news releases, through our website, and through presentations.

Morales:

Twenty-three health councils received funding. Do the other counties not have health councils?

Knauf:

Others do want funding and there are definitely others in the works. Bernalillo County reports to the state, but doesn’t want funding. The Doña Ana County council is owned by the county.

Morales:

If you have no funding, how do you operate?

Knauf:

We take administrative fees for grants, the county offers us office space at low rent, and Gila Regional is providing funding.

Morales:

The state is 50th in child wellbeing and 49th in poverty. This might be an opportunity to offer a plan for these things. There is no plan to address.

Knauf:

The Department of Health is undergoing accreditation. It will need health councils for that accreditation.

Lucero:

We also received funding from the Freeport McMoRan Community Investment Fund.

Silver Regional Sexual Assault Support Services

 

Colleen Boyd:

We know 23 percent of county residents have been assaulted within their lifetimes, with many in the past year. But that’s only for those who report.

Kristy Rogers:

We provide 24-hour intervention, case managements, patient referrals and all for a budget under $200,000.

Dr. Robert Rickle:

(Transcriber’s Note: Rickle read a long list of terrible statistics, which I hope you received with the SASS packet.)

Stormie Flamm: sexual assault nurse examiner at Gila Regional:

The SANE program continues to grow. We are now allowed to see children under the age of 12. We’ve seen eight since July.

We will send another nurse for training, and we also have sixe nurses in Hidalgo and Catron counties. We are also working with the Detention Center.

We still need support. We are grateful for the $650,000. We are asking for an additional $350,000 to make $1 million.

Morales:

You have made a huge impact and have made the state aware of the need.

Rep. Martinez made it happen. I think $300,000 is doable.

This ties into education and student achievement. You locally came out and made it happen. I would like to see training for law enforcement.

Boyd:

It’s challenging to get law enforcement to show up for training. I would like to see a change of requirements to enhance their training.

Morales:

We’ll work with the Department of Public Safety. How was Shop with a Cop?

Flamm:

There weren’t enough cops, but it was amazing.

Boyd:

Senator, thanks for your making a connection with education and sexual assault.

Martinez:

I introduced a bill for law enforcement to recognize PTSD and will work on this requirement, too.

Behavioral Health Local Collaborative 6

 

Matt Elwell:

I am the Luna County Detention Center Administrator and Mike Carrillo is the Grant County Detention Center Administrator.

The detention centers have become mental health centers. Many of the inmates are self-medicating to deal with what has happened to them.

We are developing an inmate support system as a three-county initiative with Grant, Luna and Hidalgo.

We want to use the detention centers to curb recidivism. We want to take the incarcerated, give them treatment and follow them out of the jails. We want to provide them the same caregivers for the next six months after they leave the jail.

The model now is to get them out with three or four days’ worth of medication. I think they come right back because they have mental health issues. The system is broken. We will deal with families if the payees are not appropriate. We will go to the courts to get the appropriate payee and caregivers.

Carrillo:

I was years in law enforcement. The first time I went into the jail I met inmates I had arrested in the 70s and 80s. They just kept coming back.

When I came back this time, it was generations. They were the grandchildren of those I had arrested. Recidivism is generational. It is the single largest issue in communities.

I consider our plan as after care. We spend $174,000 for health care services. Recidivism is like sexual assault and drug abuse. It’s a problem in the community.

Elwell:

We need a detox facility in the area. We are in the beginning stages of developing it.

Hamilton:

Mike, I’m glad you’re back home. It’s so sad today that people don’t want to see anything done for prisoners. What is the answer?

Carrillo:

I think the key is the individual himself. They have to turn the key to decide. If we don’t provide the services to help them turn the key, it might not happen. I don’t believe we can save everyone, but we need to reduce recidivism.

Hamilton:

Are you asking for funds?

Carrillo:

We are asking for $563,000 over a three-year period for the three counties and one half-time person through the Local Collaborative 6.

We will set up the continuum of resources. We need the individual to administer and coordinate the after-care services. We will prepare the inmates for release.

Elwell:

It’s an eye-opener.  It’s really sad to have the situation, but a comparison of costs to detention will show it’s worthwhile.

It costs $28,000 a year per inmate. This program pays for itself if it cuts recidivism. Incarceration, the hospitals and the ERs all save.

Martinez:

Most decisions are based on finances. The end result is that inmates will go through treatment, education and medication. Are there any other programs?

Elwell:

 A few centers have in-house programs, but none has the after care.

I think if we work with the families and inmates for six months, we will see recidivism.

Martinez:

Where do you take the intoxicated?

Elwell:

We detox in jail.

Carrillo:

We have medical personnel, but we have to get a medical release from the hospital and then they are released to the Detention Center where they get detox.

Martinez:

There is a consortium to address this. I’ve been talking to Commissioner Hall. I’m glad to see this.

Morales:

It’s a big issue, but I have a concern with $563,000 to fund it.

Elwell:

That funds 2½ positions over the three-year period including travel and all salary. We will add our own resources for 3½ positions. The counties will provide in-kind with vehicles, supplies and office space.

Morales:

The plan was endorsed by the Health and Human Services Committee.

Elwell:

Luna County will be the fiscal agent.

Carrillo:

I think the test will come with the 2½ positions and whether we need more or less, once we get into the resources needed. The unknowns are whether it will be sufficient.

LifeQuest Inc.

 

Evangeline Zamora, chief executive officer:

We have two major services—adult and early childhood.

Joseph Jenson, early childhood coordinator:

 

I have stepped in to help with the birth to age 3 with or at risk for developmental disabilities. It’s the most critical time for brain development.

Travel is a challenge. We cannot limit services to maximize referrals. We are increasing the marketing in day cares and schools and looking at increasing the reimbursement rates. Frequently, we cannot offer competitive salaries for specialties, but we want to decrease staff turnovers.

Deb Frasca, adult services and chief operating officer:

You are familiar with the DD waiver systems and struggles with reimbursement.

We had a 5 percent cut to DDSD and a 5 percent cut in client referrals.

Our priority in 2014 is to get people on the waiting list and then to get them off the waiver.

Please consider supporting an increase in reimbursement rates.

Getting them off the list and onto the waiver, and not just off the waiver. If we can’t get the resources, then we have a bigger problem.

Zamora:

Two years ago, new systems were put in place, which made changes.

Folks under state general funding no longer get services. We are the only service provider.

Morales:

You’ve kept me updated. How many therapists have you lost due to uncompetitive salaries?

Jenson:

In speech therapy, we have lost our full-time person and at least 50 percent of our clients need speech and language therapy.

Zamora:

It’s especially hard to find therapists for Catron County, because travel is non-reimbursable.  We are facing unknowns, because we never know what the needs are of a child coming into the program.

Jenson:

We serve 257 in the early childhood program. From 0-3 is a short window.

El Refugio Inc.

 

Maria Morales-Loebl, executive director:

Every year, the Coalition Against Domestic Violence comes to the Legislature. As a member of the coalition, I’m asking for their request.

We are currently facing a change in HUD funding, which has provided critical support. In its priority, it will eliminate supportive and in-transition housing. HUD wants to address the homeless.

Cutting funding for domestic violence shelters will be tragic. We also face reduced or eliminated critical funding for advocates who work weekends and nights.

We know we’re the only shelter in southwest New Mexico. They told us we should anticipate a budget cut.

Domestic violence remains a priority of the Health Council, which is trying to address prevention.

El Refugio for 30 years has been providing crisis intervention, with our core services being emergency shelter, victim advocacy, treatment and offender programs.  I hope the core services remain a priority.

I want to point out we are in our 30th year of community service. As stewards, we will look at long-term and short-term needs. So many things are intertwined, it is a concern for us.

If 40 referrals are sent to us, 15 are no-shows. The judicial system is having a difficult time dealing with non-compliance. It is unacceptable when it comes to accountability. If it is part of being convicted, the person should be in compliance.

Morales:

I’m trying to find the request.

Morales-Loebl:

I will get it from the coalition. We’re 100 percent billable units, but if we provide three months of services there are no reimbursements. Rural programs have problems with drawdowns. The cutbacks in legal aid also wimpact us.

Morales:

I am assured that there will be requests for legal aid positions. With your billable units, you have to have someone there all the time.

Morales-Loebl:

A lot of the services we provide, we can’t bill for. We are open 24/7 even if no one is in there. These hours are non-billable, but we still have costs.

Martinez:

The budget presented is $800,000 for the full budget?

Morales-Loebl:

That is deferred income. We have six or seven funding services. The CYFD funding is the largest.

We are pretty full right now. It’s hard when there are lots of situations.

One of the trends is a high level of substance abuse and mental health issues. Sometimes there are limited to no resources for the problems.

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