2016 Legislative Forum Transcript
Prospectors’ Legislative Communication Forum
Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016
WNMU Light Hall
Senate District 28 Sen. Howie Morales
House District 39 Rep. John Zimmerman
House District 38 Rep.-Elect Rebecca Dow
House District 39 Rep.-Elect Rodolpho “Rudy” Martinez
The event began at 8 a.m. with networking and a continental breakfast.
Prospectors’ President Michael “Mischa” Larisch announced the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 368 would post the colors. The Pledge of Allegiance followed and the colors were retired.
Larisch introduced the legislators and the legislators-elect. Retiring District 38 Rep. Dianne Hamilton was unable to attend.
We thank Western New Mexico University for their use of the facilities.
I just want to emphasize how much of an impact the Prospectors have. When we have our event during the session, people seek to attend it.
Last year, we had some money. This year, there will be reductions. Priscilla last year went home with $850,000 that had been held up at the state.
We are grateful that everything goes in one notebook. It can be intimidating when we’re in committee, but we can open the notebook to find the information we need quickly.
We always want the best for the people of New Mexico. Rural New Mexico resources are continually being pulled away.
My focuses are, as always, senior citizens, veterans, those with disabilities and education, from early childhood to the university graduate level.
We have a lot of challenges in front of us.
Be sure to keep us updated on what’s going on with the bills. When you give us updates on the bills that concern us, we can read things.
People cannot see the quality of the Prospectors. Thank you for being advocates. We may not always agree, but we always respect each other and that’s what’s important.
I’m outgoing, but the past two years have been great. I’m proud to say I had three pieces of legislation for veterans and the National Guard go through, as well as another one that was really important for rural areas.
Morales was instrumental in helping to pass in the Senate the loan forgiveness for the Burrell Osteopathic School of Medicine at New Mexico State University for those who study there and then serve as rural doctors.
They receive loan forgiveness, if they stay for the four-year period. In the first year they receive 10 percent loan forgiveness, 20 percent in the second year, 30 percent the third year and 40 percent the fourth year. If they stay the four years, they are likely to stay the course and serve in rural areas.
I concentrated on rural areas in Grant County, as well as rural parts of Doña Ana County.
I made significate breakthroughs on Fort Bayard. The momentum is on our side.
Secretary Burckle is a cheerleader for turning it over to Santa Clara. There are still roadblocks, but don’t let your guard down now. Don’t lose momentum.
I’m proud to have served and I regret I didn’t get the vote to return. I wish Rudy the best. You have a lot of work ahead of you.
This notebook was the single most important thing for me.
Most of my capital outlay funding went to Grant County.
I’ll keep a sharp eye on what’s going on in Santa Fe.
I’m looking forward to the session. I attended as a citizen at the 2015 session.
Economic development and improving education are my main priorities.
It’s good to be back. Rep. Zimmerman, thank you for your service.
It will be a challenge this year.
I thank the Prospectors for the book and all the work they do behind the scenes so we have the right information to present.
As we know the budget is a challenge. We have to see what we can provide this year. Rural New Mexico is suffering. The larger communities have as many as 23 representatives, which makes it a challenge for our three local representative from our area, but we’ve all worked together for our area.
The entire community is coming together to provide the information we need.
I encourage you to continue to contact us by phone and email.
The Prospectors’ put on one of the best events during the session. It’s where we get support from the other representatives.
I want to recognize Kim Clark and Priscilla Lucero for organizing this forum.
Grant County Day will take place beginning Jan. 31 in the evening with an organizational meeting. Wednesday, Feb. 1, we will be meeting with cabinet secretaries and maybe the governor. Our reception will be that evening, from 5:30-7:30 at La Fonda.
I would like to introduce Eric Ghahata, who will talk about the La Ristra Project from the New Mexico Association of Regional Councils (NewMARC). He will also present at lunch.
This is a uniquely well-organized group.
NewMARC is a collaboration of federal, state, tribal and specific local groups.
We share a projects database, designed to put information out on the planning process. One thing we are pursuing is the action piece.
We have smart roles identified, not only in the large, but also the small communities. We will talk more about this at lunch.
The database allows you to keep up with a project and show it to the public.
Priscilla Lucero, Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments executive director:
We just took over the chairmanship of NewMARC, as a result of a federal award of $90,000 to the Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments to do a statewide plan, so we can see the funding in our area. We also have some additional funding to pursue other projects.
I knew the funding for it got vetoed. What happened?
Yes, we still need some more. Each local government put in some match money. They have a maintenance fee and a need for training.
For every local government, how many local agreements are being held up?
Mischa is keeping up with the county’s.
With the database, will DFA (Department of Finance and Admininstration) use it as a tool?
Eric has developed a relationship with DFA.
The DFA Local Government Division is interested in this becoming the new ICIP (Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan).
There is a way to add a module so everyone is not dealing with different applications. This makes it more project-based.
That is important, so you don’t have to keep sending documents. They can be here.
It’s for the ICIP, the capital outlay requirements, the survey. The purpose is that it’s all in one place, and you don’t have to duplicate documents.
We need to put in language for when administrators can change things. We have to make sure they use this process.
My question is: Will this change the process for each government entity?
The priority is still the process at the local government, and that will be put into this project.
The intent once we get it going is that everything about grant agreements is in there. Is the PER there? Is the environmental study done? It’s there for as long as they are doing the project.
The ICIP now is an annual cyclical process. You get it done and don’t address it again during the year.
This puts it as constantly developing, so you can do a snapshot of right now.
Can you access it easily?
Each local government will have its own page and individual site.
You put on the copy of the audit, the comprehensive plan, the economic development plan and the priorities that connect to the place.
It makes the plans more interactive and useful.
We also have the economic development plans on the COG website. We can attach all the plans that have been done, for instance on Fort Bayard.
Each group has five minutes to present and a total of five minutes for the questions and answers. Prospector Cynthia Bettison is the timer.
Please address the legislators and not the audience.
We will have a more in-depth presentation on NewMARC at lunch.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT PRESENTATIONS
Charlene Webb, Grant County Manager, and Larisch, as county planning and economic development director, made the presentation
We know there is not going to be capital outlay this year, but we continue to face barriers.
Senator Morales helps us day-to-day with the DFA. Our CDBG got awarded in June and we received the match last year.
It’s a challenge to deal with the constant changes and duplications we have to provide. Thank you, Senator Morales, for moving us forward with the Colonias road improvement projects in North Hurley and the Tyrone sidewalk compliance, as well as with state fire funds.
For Tu Casa, we are using CDBG.
Hold harmless is also a concern.
We are working on a comprehensive plan and a new asset management plan.
Grant County is trying to be fiscally responsible and we will continue with no revenue growth.
It’s a struggle when we get hit with higher insurance costs, some deputies who need higher pay and new equipment. We struggle day to day. We struggle trying to manage all the needs and requirements put on us.
We are looking at savings with LED retrofits and we want to see if solar is an option.
We have finished all our capital outlay, except for Tu Casa, which will be run by HMS. We are jumping through many hoops just to work with a community partner.
We are asking for $65,000 for the Detention Center, $120,000 for vehicles for the Sheriff’s Department and $142,000 for improvements at the administration center, including the parking lot, which is full of potholes.
Just to clarify. You’re requesting capital outlay for the administration center?
We need to resurface the parking lot and complete the front entrance.
You mentioned the rising insurance rates. Is that for employee insurance?
Yes, we pay the full health insurance costs for our employees. We received a notice of a 29 percent increase. We are working with the carrier to see if we can reduce that.
Is Workman’s Comp impacting the county?
It’s not a huge impact.
What is the North Hurley Road improvements’ start date?
We are in a hold with the contractor. Hopefully it will start in the next week or two.
The contractor is trying to find the utilities and sewer connection.
In the middle where in comes it from highway 180, that portion is where the worst drainage problems are.
And additionally, from south to north, the final plans are not finalized.
How many vehicles for the Sheriff’s Department will $120,000 buy?
Four. We are using other grant money to help out.
For the vehicles, receiving capital outlay funding is probably not a real good process. Is the county putting money back for vehicles?
Yes, in the past years, we have paid for one or two. We realize capital outlay is not the best for funding vehicles.
Is there a business plan in place for replacing them?
We’ve done a poor job of planning for the purchase of vehicles. We don’t have an asset plan or up-to-date comprehensive plan. We are working on addressing these issues.
We do have enough to replace one vehicle a year. Last year, we had saved enough and took enough money from another department to purchase anther vehicle. We do our best to meet our needs.
Each vehicle puts on a minimum of 3,000 miles per month.
Thank you for keeping me updated. We will continue to help as we can.
Can you give me an update on Senior Services?
It is taking us six to eight months to transition to HMS.
We are excited about HMS doing the program, because of the services they can provide. We are looking for the transition to happen in March.
It requires lease agreements and employee transitions, so there are a lot of steps. We hope to accomplish it for March.
Who is the fiscal agent?
We’re using a process similar to what Hidalgo County had.
Who is responsible for keeping up the centers?
Grant County owns the Silver City and Santa Clara centers. The others will be up to HMS.
What about the convention center?
We hope to open it in February. With the punch list, we ran into issues with the HVAC. Fourteen of the 22 components came up as inoperable It’s costing us $175,000 to fix them.
Our goal is to remedy it by February. We had hoped for a grand opening in December or January.
We are also working on our prices and policies and looking for a management team for the convention center.
Seniors have concerns about the hospital, too. Hospitals are being impacted across the state. We have the only county-owned hospital, as far as I know in the state.
Is there any discussion to make sure it remains county-owned?
We are in communication. The last thing we want to do is sell the hospital. Some are leased to another organization. Immediate discussion has to happen.
I remember when Commissioner Kelly said he wouldn’t sell it. I hope we can develop a plan to keep it.
We are having discussions and we have no plan to divest the hospital.
TOWN OF SILVER CITY
Mayor Ken Ladner and Town Manager Alex Brown
We have three things. The top priority is protection of hold harmless. With a population of 10,400, we are one of the smallest communities above the arbitrary 10,000 population cutoff, but we provide services to about 20,000 residents in Grant County.
We look forward to working with you to protect hold harmless and change the 10,000 population number to a higher number.
Hold harmless is far and above the most important issue. If we lose it, it will cause a $1.7 million impact. We haven’t imposed the allowed increased gross receipts increments, but that would get us only $1.2 million, so it would still be a $500,000 hit.
The state also continues to pass legislation that impacts local government. Hold harmless was passed to shore up the state and it was passed down to us to pay it.
When you pass legislation with a cookie-cutter approach, every community is so different that it is not a workable way to do things.
We are asking for $125,000 to fix the sidewalks on Cactus Street.
We’ve been working on our capital outlay projects. The Vistas de Plata affordable housing, with 56 units, is close to completing it.
Others we are working on include the third phase of Silver Street, the $3.5 million Ridge Road sewer extension, fourth phase of a CDBG project water replacement in Chihuahua Hill, and two sidewalks project on 32ndStreet and one downtown and an infrastructure project on College Street, working with the university.
On Colonias projects, what is the percentage?
Are you leveraging other funds on the sidewalks?
On the sidewalks, we are using local property tax and gross receipts tax to complete them.
Is there a particular piece of legislation that you would like to be removed other than hold harmless?
Regulations in DFA. DFA is one of the worst state agencies to work with. They give conflicting messages and the continual duplication of documents becomes frustrating.
We thank Silver City for staying on top of capital outlay and other funding.
I understand your frustration with DFA and understand the unfunded mandates you receive. We need further discussion on this issue.
We continue to communicate with DFA to streamline the process. Six months is not only time-consuming, but costs rise during that delay.
I would like to see local government views on how to change things. The barriers placed on municipalities is huge.
Thank you for the work you do. I’m happy with the direction of the council thinking outside the box.
It’s helpful to keep receiving information as thing develop. Cano and Bettison keep me in the loop.
We will have to address hold harmless. To truly address it, we would have to pass the food tax and I don’t see that happening. We need to make a strong case that 10,000 is not an appropriate level. That law was passed in 1982.
The 10,000 needs to change. The LFC needs to change the small communities assistance program so it changes with population changes. In 2015, Silver City was at 10,002. We might be below that this year.
The 10,000 is arbitrary and is a number that changes. To lose $1.7 million in gross receipts and gain $35,000 in small communities assistance just because they are using an arbitrary number doesn’t make sense.
It takes one small amendment onto the existing bill, if we have strong justification.
The other question I have is on the ICIP. What about Scott Park, Phase 3?
It was for the concession stand, but we are focusing the money on the field that sank to keep it safe.
It’s a beautiful facility, but when you have one whole field that can’t be used because it has settled, it needs to be fixed.
Part has settled, but the infield hasn’t moved. We can use it for the smaller kids.
Ladner has mentioned to me that you need a true recreation center for the whole community. I hope you don’t give that up.
During the Thanksgiving break, kids wanted to practice basketball but the schools were closed.
I don’t give up. It’s the most talked about item. We’ve got to do something.
If any capital outlay funding is not completed, it will be swept. It goes back to the DFA.
The only money left is the money for the field, but we had to change the agreement. It took a year, but now we want to continue it.
The 32nd Street sidewalks got contracted and should have started a few weeks ago, but we’re waiting for warmer weather.
You have to justify it as to why not to sweep it.
During the special session, hold harmless is low-hanging fruit because it’s an ability to pass a tax. Be cautious about hold harmless.
CITY OF BAYARD
Mayor Charles Kelly and Clerk Treasurer Kristy Ortiz
Thank you for having us here. We understand the budget crunch, but we come to talk to you about a few things.
The main objective is to reauthorize the recreation funding. We want to add two words, construct a recreational facility and area improvements.
We want to continue the $45,000 for grass and irrigation for the T-ball field. We also want to add a wall on the Community Center, because it’s falling off in chunks. That’s why we need the reauthorization.
Small communities are being reduced by $200,000. It hurts us in our General Fund. If not for that loss, we would have come out even.
We have a need for a new water well. We are getting the funding plan in place to do the preliminary engineering. We hope to get it done by March on the rehabilitation of our present wells.
For the cemetery, we are using effluent reuse for watering the buildings and the cemetery. We have issues on the warranty work on the storage wells before we water the cemetery.
In the regional wastewater effluent reuse, is anything going to go up to Fort Bayard to water the national cemetery?
We are not involved in that project. We take it to storage behind Cobre High School for the ball fields.
Our master plan is to take effluent to different locations. We will use ISC funding to get it to a storage tank up and behind Cobre. We are in discussion with Santa Clara and the county, but we can’t do much until this portion is complete.
We are in the final stages of getting the recharge credits finalized.
The goal is to have this water used as much as possible wherever.
Part of the funding for the wastewater plant was to run it to Fort Bayard. There was a $12 million price tag.
That was 10 years ago.
It doesn’t stop us from seeking funding. The wastewater treatment plant was paid for with funding from six different agencies. We have to look at all agencies and consider the impact.
Morales (to Ortiz):
It was nice to see the op-ed from Terry Brunner recognizing you.
There is no problem reauthorizing the $90,000 for recreation.
I wonder if we can use it before it is reauthorized?
The intent is facilities, not just buildings.
I will follow up. We do facility upgrades all the time. I don’t agree with their interpretation.
The cemetery looks good. Sodding will do a lot.
The parking lot we will do when water becomes available.
What kind of cost savings does using the effluent do for the schools?
The final fee schedule is not assessed yet. It seems one of the fees is 80 cents on the dollar.
Is it possible to apply to Colonias for the wells?
Some of the old wells are pretty much inoperable.
We will rehabilitate a well from the 2013 Colonias funding. We have seven that need rehabilitating. One we may have to let go. Another old one, the engineer doesn’t know if the casing is all the way down. It may collapse.
A new well is to take the place of two of the exiting wells. We want to drill a new one to take care of others.
Did DFA make a rule you can’t match capital outlay?
You can’t match capital outlay with a match of capital outlay.
I didn’t know that.
Willy (Kerin, police chief) does a really good job. In his Batman suit at Halloween, the kids loved it.
Any more mountain lion sightings?
Not that I know of.
TOWN OF HURLEY
Commissioners Freddie Rodriguez and Richard Maynes and Mayor Fernando Martinez
After 1956, Chino Mine turned the town over to its residents. The mine continued to supply fresh water to the residents. But the water sales agreement expires on Dec. 31, 2018.
We have been diligently working to find a reliable water source. Silver City has leased for 40 years its water rights near the airport to us.
Phase 1 of the project will provide reliable water to Hurley from the well field under development. The first well has been completed but needs tests. They are drilling on the second well. Completion and testing are ongoing.
The ISC committed $2.1 million to us to match the Colonias $1,739,710 for Phase 1 match. The Freeport McMoRan Community Investment Fund provided $40,000 and the town received $100,000 in capital outlay. Phase 1 will cost $8 million, so $3,966,290 is remaining to pay for the project. We need the PER updated to apply to USDA.
The primary focus is to complete Phase 1. The town needs $3.8 million to $3.9 million to complete it.
We are in discussion with the USDA, but they want the PER updated because it’s two years old. There are also discussions between the USDA and the EDA to work collaboratively. The intent is to seek funding from both of them. The concern is the Colonias may go away. It’s been a major funding source for local projects.
The critical path is to have it done by Dec. 31, 2018?
Absolutely. The actual engineering and design is awaiting the Environment Department approval so we can use the Colonias funding for construction.
Is the Environment Department being proactive?
I can’t answer that. Gary Berg of Occam Engineers Inc. is awaiting the approval of the capital outlay agreement to do the last test on the completed well.
I’m hearing foot dragging. Rep. Martinez and Morales, please weigh in on this.
Berg (from the audience):
The driller has had a tough time on it. They have a subcontractor on board for the testing.
The amount of dollars within the past year is unbelievable. The $1.7 million from Colonias was their largest ever, and we’ve also received the other funding, too.
Congratulations, mayor, on your efforts. I have a quick question. Hopefully you can get the full amount to complete the project. Have you approached Freeport about a possible extension if it is needed?
Kevin Cook of Freeport has thought it might be possible. We will be talking to them.
We have to keep moving forward. I thank the county and municipalities for the Regional Water System plan.
Alex (Brown) and I presented to the Infrastructure Finance Conference. If it weren’t for Alex, we wouldn’t be near where we are.
Local governments at the conference came up to us from around the state. We feel like it’s a model project for the state.
Thank you for your leadership.
Thank you to Priscilla, Alex and the town of Silver City. A special thanks to Senator Morales and Representative Zimmerman. It’s been a team effort.
I appreciate all your efforts. I see the sacrifices you make to hear the bill. At the last ISC meeting, I was disappointed that our item on the agenda was taken off.
Alex and I met about it. Alex was given a special set of questions. We will meet with Gary today to make sure we have all the points covered.
That $2.1 million from ISC is the match for the Colonias. We have that in hand. The meeting with ISC is scheduled for Dec. 12. (UPDATE: the ISC did agree to send the money directly to the town of Hurley)
If you need it, I would be glad to write a letter to make sure you are heard this time. We can talk about it after this.
I think the main report was OK, but it wasn’t what the staff wanted. They wanted more of the technical report from the engineering report. I don’t know why they need all that if it’s matching funds. ISC primarily works with surface water. I don’t think they understand what we’re doing.
Alex and I will be there. We will have a lot of support, with Fernie and other staff going, too. I don’t want to see the loss of this funding.
Rep. Zimmerman and Hamilton, too said they would be willing to join in the meeting.
Who is the fiscal agent?
We are. There is a lot of confusion about where we don’t need a fiscal agent. The Environment Department didn’t need a fiscal agent.
I think it’s dependent on the actual agency, but it causes me a lot of confusion.
How did it work for the kids for the swimming pool?
It is great. It heated the swimming pool. We will seek solar to improve it.
What about the cemetery?
Hopefully, the contractor will start next week. And yes, we are up to date on our audits.
VILLAGE OF SANTA CLARA
Mayor Richard Bauch and Clerk Sheila Hudman
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to present. The Village of Santa Clara has been busy. We have accomplished many projects.
We would like to request $200,000 for the design of the sidewalks and parking for Bayard Street. We have done about half of it and want to complete it.
We are also requesting for the police station. We need three furnaces and $50,000 to replace them.
We are also asking for $60,000 for cemetery improvements. We are almost completely full, but we have found land to expand.
Thank you for thinking outside the box to improve the village. You have made a lot of progress. The Splash Park will draw people.
I want to ask you on your audits. The last session your audit was not complete, but it was out of your control.
We changed our audit firm. We have our audit conference next Tuesday.
It held up your capital outlay last year. Hopefully we will have some for you this year, especially for the cemetery.
The other auditor had health issues that kept him from completing the job.
I was on a conference call with you on the regulations on Fort Bayard and got cut off.
My biggest thing is to make sure the state is responsible for paying for the needs before the transfer.
At the end, we needed to continue to meet. There has been a lot of discussion around the transfer and the condition of the infrastructure.
The DOH needs to be at the table about improvements on county property and in the village limits.
The issue required more discussion. We had a funder on the call and he felt like it needed more discussion. We will meet Dec.14 to talk about what funding opportunities from the EDA can potentially fund state-owned property.
Other funding sources won’t consider it unless the village owns the property. There is no mechanism that the state can use to ask for funding it.
That’s great progress. Legislation of a joint resolution is needed.
There are a lot of question that you will need to be prepared to answer. I’ll get the language together to see what direction you want to take.
I thought the reason for the December meeting is to have everything in place for the joint resolution. Whatever I need to be doing, let me know. I got a lot of feedback from the trustees.
I’ll get the information for the joint resolution and will have staff write it. It’s a heavy lift, but we have to get it started.
Maybe the transfer part is a heavy lift, but if we’re going to do it, we need to just move forward.
You need to firm up the funding. My pitch to you is to firm up the commitments.
It was made clear by the state representative for the EDA that it needed more discussion. It didn’t reflect on what the job creation would be. She will come back with the group with ideas to create a revenue source.
I think it needs to be a public/private partnership.
The EDA likes public/private partnerships.
Great. It gives the potential for other growth now that the hospital is down. It was sad, but I think it opens up opportunities.
We have other information, we would like to get to you and discuss.
An (agency) wanted to see job creation and three different reports that outline it. That’s an important part of the meeting on Dec. 14. Secretary Burckle is a cheerleader for this project. Whatever I can do this month or in the future, let me know.
We can use all the support we can get.
The meeting was positive. I thought it brought up a lot of opportunities. Did I understand from Secretary Burckle that we need an enabling act to move a public/private partnership?
Yes, and we will move forward with the joint resolution.
I’m glad to hear that your audits are up to date. I’m glad to hear about your project moving forward.
I have a question. I need clarification. Bayard Street was part of the Department of Transportation. Has it been handed over to the village?
Yes. We completed it with CDBG funding up to Cottonwood Street, but we want to continue to the traffic signal. We are asking for capital outlay for planning.
When the transition took page, did DOT not commit to making improvements?
No, it did not.
On the cemetery, individuals came forward to sell the land. I commend you for what you’re doing. You have a lot of need. One step at a time.
We are also in Phase 1 planning for Bellm Street as well.
We want to be part of the LEDA program, but we don’t have manufacturers. We want to come in with locals that want to start right now, but with the rules, we can’t do that.
Is there a hold up with the candy company? And how much?
It’s a holdup of their loan, but it has been taken care of.
Also on water from Fort Bayard, the update is that we will submit a PER.
SOUTHWEST NEW MEXICO COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS
Priscilla Lucero, executive director
I want to thank everyone in this room for working as a team.
I will comment on a couple of things.
The most important to me is funding.
We, at the COG, used to receive $125,000. Currently we are at $91,000 and we will be cut again by $7,000.
We will not be able to match federal dollars. Without that, there is no COG. I don’t want to be forced to retire.
We have a smaller match of $30,000 because of our area being in poverty. That’s why we have benefited from five years of Colonias funding.
Grant County has received 28 awards over the five years, for $13.3 million. The region has received $70 million through the southern part of the state.
That is not including the leveraging of federal dollars. Last I heard, it was $150 million.
The Imagination Library grant is moving better this year. It’s the second year of a four-year contract.
On the $250,000 award of EDA for renewable energy, we already have investment in Grant County. I calculate the savings at $20,000 in lighting per year. The actual audit shows more. Each local government has been provided $9,000 in funding plus rebates from PNM.
It has been a pleasure working with you. You’re so professional. I continue to stay active, and I’m glad you’re not ready to retire.
I have a concern. It’s pretty clear you’re a critical piece.
I have a ton of questions for you.
I want to reduce travel costs through telecommunications—all we can do.
Congratulations on everything you’ve done. The number of government projects is amazing. I look forward to continue to work with you.
Call any time of day.
I think the first bill I will propose is a Prevent Priscilla from Retiring bill. (Laughter)
In all seriousness, you are a champion for our community.
The statistics for Colonias levels out the playing field, allowing funding from the northern part of the state to come to the southern part of the state.
She sits on the Colonias board and calls me in tears because of the way they treated her.
You communicate so quickly on Western and Cobre, too.
Not all the COGs have the same work ethic as our Priscilla.
I know there is not any funding this year, but we need to look at restoring your funding.
Hubert Quintana has retired, but we have a contract with him for him to be there to be our eyes and ears.
I appreciate the work he does. He can set up shop in my office, if he wants to.
The Jobs Council is recommending being pushed out to local levels.
It’s a major concern. We were not made aware of the legislation. You made it clear that approach wasn’t the best. I could have given input.
I don’t understand the piece of accountability to act. The COGs are struggling with a 150-page bill trying to get a handle on it.
We have participated since its inception.
I want to make sure the COGs are not bypassed in the public/private arena. It works best when we are working in conjunction, not isolated from one another.
I think you have proven that with economic development efforts, it is a benefit of the public side getting private dollars coming in.
HEREDIA DITCH IMPROVEMENTS
Art and his brother John live on the Mimbres River. They have a slide presentation.
El Agua es la Vida. Water is Life. We depend on it for our farms, orchards and pastures.
It is diverted uphill from the Mimbres in a 24-inch pipe and by surface conveyance.
We are 1/10th of a mile from a diversion dam, which was damaged by floods. We want a pipeline for stability, minimum loss of water and ease of maintenance.
We have 103.7 acres and primarily grow vegetables.
We depend on the water for our livelihoods, and we need improvements. If the structure fails we’re without water.
This is a corrugated culvert, and the picture shows the bank eroding and the pipeline collapsing. The river is 10 feet below the collapsing pipe and dam.
We have submitted an application to the ISC and it committed $167,000. The RCPP (Regional Conservation Partnership Program of the NRCS) has the project as high-ranking, but is short of money.
I appreciate your advocacy. Last year, we weren’t able to fund it.
How many residents does it affect?
What amount do you need?
$400,000. We have the $167,000 from the ISC and are wanting to hear from the RCPP. We want about $10,000 or $15,000 because we want to finish it all at one time. Anything would be appreciated.
Can it be leveraged by other dollars?
I would have to research it. I’m not sure where the ISC money is coming from.
If we can put a dollar in to get two or three more dollars it might work.
What is the economic detriment? How much?
It would be a detriment without water. We have no pipeline to land.
How involved is the Acequias Association?
It has given us technical assistance and they have offered to come help us where to find funding.
Typically, they advocate for specific funding. In northern New Mexico typically they give $3,000 or $5,000. They can help.
CASAS ADOBES MUTUAL DOMESTIC WATER CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION
We are a rural subdivision in the Mimbres Valley. Casas Adobes was developed in 1961. The water system was incorporated separately. Wanda and Aaron Emerson used the sales of lots to finance the water company.
It serves 130 taps and 170 houses. It also provides water to HMS, EMS, Mountain Spirit and Valles Adobes
We have worked with Tom Hall and Linda Billings, and Attorney Carnie Foy.
The community grudgingly agreed to create a formal MDWCA. The disrepair billing does not cover repairs.
On Sept. 9, 2016, it was transferred from the company to the MDWCA. To form the start up we asked for $500 from each member to pay for five line items—the closing costs, lawyers’ fees, start-up costs, emergency and reserve funds. We have collected $25,000 to cover the first three items.
The residents are making payments of $20 a month for the emergency and reserve funds. They total $1,400 a month for the emergency fund, which will be rolled over to the budget. We hope the line item will be enough for an emergency and reserve, without having to raise rates.
We have an initial budget and are working on an asset management plan.
We are working with the NMED to develop a capacity estimate, which includes a work plan itemizing all compliance items.
We need a sanitary survey. Citations that need to be addressed were inherited from the water company. We’re hoping we can resolve the issues through funding.
We are asking for $100,000.
It’s really a challenge. I appreciate your bringing everything to us through our PRC Commissioner Sandy Jones, who has helped organize it.
Our water tanks are in bad shape, and need to be replaced before they go out. We want to automate them. They are turned off and on manually twice a day. It’s not expensive to automate and could save us from a catastrophe.
The initial intent was to alleviate the most immediate needs. We will seek funding from NMFA for the PER.
The reality is it’s 30-years old without any improvements.
Colonias is allowing us to apply, but should we need a fiscal agent, Grant County is willing to serve as fiscal, if needed.
I didn’t know where capital outlay would go. Thanks for clearing it up.
As far as funding that may be available, it would create more red tape or restrictions.
We are working with NMED to develop a rate structure and training for board members.
Training will be key, especially with audits.
Priscilla, is a $50,000 planning grant available?
Yes, through NMFA.
WESTERN NEW MEXICO UNIVERSITY
WNMU President Joseph Shepard, who handed gifts to the senator and representatives.
Thank you to the Prospectors. This is my sixth presentation since I’ve been here. What the Prospectors do is very unique. They are the greatest advocates for our community.
Representative Hamilton was a strong advocate for the university.
Representative-Elect Dow, I look forward to working with you.
Senator Morales, thank you for your support.
Representative Zimmerman and Representative-Elect Martinez, I think the transition will be seamless.
We need money. Any questions? (laughter)
We are trying to minimize losses. We had a 2.5 percent loss and then another 5.5 percent loss in the special session.
We will settle for $1 million for roofs.
Graham Gym is a perfect example. If the roof fails, it will destroy the floor.
If there is extra money, we can continue working on Harlan Hall.
I thank the community for voting yes on the GO bond, which will provide $5 million to our university.
It has been a pleasure working with you. I will do what I can to leverage support. It’s a short year for money. We already know we’re in a hole. I don’t envy the heavy lifting for the senator and two representatives.
I have two questions. In regards to dual enrollment, I know it’s costly, but critical. Do you have a solution other than eliminating the program?
Today there is a meeting in Albuquerque to determine if New Mexico wants to continue to fall behind by killing dual enrollment. If so, they will do it.
Dual enrollment is a critical element for our state, especially in rural areas.
Students rely on the universities to get advanced courses.
We are on the precipice of making it so difficult for dual enrollment that, for universities that are successful it is a disincentive.
What is being considered is very restrictive language, based on myth, rather than reality.
The myth is that taking dual enrollment doesn’t count toward a degree. That’s false. We might have some that need proper advisement, but most counts toward a degree.
We need to strengthen dual enrollment and make it more accessible to students, not less.
K-12 is also in dire straits.
Eliminating universities that can provide expertise is cutting off our nose to spite our face.
We get paid approximately $9.50 per credit hour. Sometimes it works out. Sometimes it can provide financial support for faculty that teaches the courses; sometimes, it doesn’t.
Dual enrollment students don’t pay tuition. We need to look at how to fund it ultimately.
Right now, we’re encouraging indirectly the destruction, not the construction of dual enrollment.
In the metro areas, they have highly qualified faculty that can teach the course in the schools, but not in the rural areas. If they know their career path, and even if they don’t, dual enrollment is not a wasted credit because it will go toward a degree.
Has any school district approached the university with cost sharing?
In Lordsburg, they have the learning center primarily for dual credit courses.
I went to Lordsburg and I said: we’re losing about $40,000 a year on dual enrollment. Can you help us out?’
The school district said: we’ll give you $10,000; the county $10,000 and the city $10,000 and the university put in $10,000. That made it whole. It’s a great example of a community coming together because they recognize the need.
What about lottery scholarships?
The inflow of money is restricted, but the outflow is not restricted. It’s not sustainable. Somehow we have to figure it out. Not firmly believed is the idea of GPA requirements. I think that advances NMSU and UNM to the detriment of comprehensive universities like WNMU. It limits access to students at Silver High School, Cobre High School and Reserve High School.
We don’t have the same urban advantages. If we go down that path, it doesn’t help rural students.
I’m a proponent of restricting the output, capping it at 33 percent for the lottery scholarship. Every increase is a benefit to NMSU and UNM and a detriment to us.
I gave a presentation at NMSU. Some proposals may be beneficial to the larger universities, but not to Western. We need balance. How do we attract more students without a detriment to the university?
The other issue is some proposals to raise the CPA to 2.75. There are students who don’t have that capability.
Do we have the capacity to perform at a community college level? Do you adjust staffing? It’s not a plus.
There are many issues, especially with the state financial situation.
How do we make adjustments to the lottery scholarships and still provide for the needs of the student?
One of the challenges is that our state has so many campuses of higher education. Each asks for capital outlay, which dilutes it.
I think we have to look at consolidation. I’m the first one to suggest that NMSU be a branch of Western New Mexico University.
Consolidation has to be part of the solution.
The dilution of resources gets a dilution of the quality of education.
Secondly, we have to be who we are. We can’t have status envy.
We have UNM, Tech and State, which are three outstanding research institutions. We have four outstanding comprehensive universities and we have the community college system.
It is important to have those elements, but, for example, UNM serving as a community college for students yields a dilution in terms of the system as a whole. Dual enrollment is our requirement to get 18 hours in while in high school.
We need to strengthen in greater viability in rural areas because our students have no other options.
Will the university be greatly impacted with a loss of dual enrollment?
We have one of the highest percentages of dual enrollment.
One of my concerns with the PED is sometimes things dropped on us become rural versus urban, because Las Cruces and Albuquerque have early college high schools.
We have to make sure we push back. We rely on your leadership. We may have more answers after this meeting today.
Right now, our roofs are on our priority list.
I would like to introduce Ron James, who is in charge of capital improvements at Higher Ed.
As we did our analyses last year at Western, the No. 1 project was Harlan Hall. The No. 1 priority for the severance tax is the roofs.
One of my jobs is to recommend for funding, which is $12 million as the appropriation to Higher Ed. Western needs roofs, with Graham Gym the first need.
My point is that there are 32 institutions, which only allows $400,000 each.
This university still wants $1 million, if available.
Our performance measures have done a bit better than others, so we lose less. If money is available we would gain more.
I appreciate your leadership. And Early Childhood is outstanding.
WNMU STUDENT GOVERNMENT
Names: Asia Marie Garcia and a female who spoke her name too quickly, and another male, and one named Jason Collet?
We need computers for the arts and some other computers with software that can be used only on campus.
Photoshop is only available on campus computers and GIS only in the geology department.
Our vision is a virtual desktop with virtualized applications.
IT transforms it from the computer set up, but it would be a streaming application, which reduces demand. We would deploy two separate nodes, where everyone gets optimized performance for themselves.
It serves the students and employees, with the limitation being broadband.
Some of these programs are not allowed to leave campus, but 95 percent are allowed to leave, which is especially useful for STEM courses.
What do you specifically need? What hardware?
Two separate nodes with processing storage and memory with redundancy. The overall cost would be $255,000. We would be using USC’s Cisco server. We looked at software and chose BMware, which is a lower cost to keep it going.
I appreciate your advocacy.
Can you update me on the safety poles?
UNM and NMSU are getting rid of them, because attacks will occur far away from them.
Apps work better. We’ve talked about waiting for the bond language.
Has any money been expended?
$195,000, but the bond is not sold. Technology has improved and software still costs money but the software works better.
Will $250,000 complete it?
We have 120 concurrent apps coming into campus, but they are scalable. We will look at it and see how things go.
WNMU EARLY CHILDHOOD LEARNING CENTER
Shannon Rivera, director; Charlene Gomez; and Cindy Manos, financial
Our program is a forward thinking program to serve early childhood. We have professional development; we use assessment, a reflective process; we are culturally responsive, using best practices. We are also doing workforce development with the center as the lab site, and also mentoring.
Funding better provides training for early childhood professionals, which start at $28,000 in public schools.
We request $275,000 to continue to provide the best training.
We were the first in the state to seek initial accreditation in the National Association program.
It allows us to provide professional training in a 21st Century setting.
I applaud you for being first to seek accreditation.
Please explain your role.
There are five other programs under the school of education. We provide two lab sites—the Early Childhood Learning Center and Growing Tree. We have certification levels all the way up to the bachelor’s degree.
TTAP gives assistance to the southwest corner of the state.
We also have licensed infant mental health services.
The Learning Center is a development school for the community and training for professionals directly connected to the university.
What percentage is low income?
About 60 percent
Are you worried about the new superintendent at Silver Schools?
We have met with the interim superintendent. We haven’t met with the new superintendent. We will continue working on opportunities for partnerships.
I congratulate you on the excellent job you do with our children.
Thank you for what you do. Are you requesting an additional $275,000 funding?
No, just the continuance of our funding. And we ask you to watch out for any other changes or threats that could hurt our programs.
The state is restructuring the CYFD of PED, but so far what is known is unofficial.
Streamlining pre-K consultants is not bad. Needed services are overlapping. Our concern during the transition is the impact it will have to rural committees. Gaps may arise.
Our biggest concern is the state doing this restructuring without input from the communities.
CYFD doesn’t need to be in the education business. It’s needed for enforcement. I will focus on early childhood.
We have lower enrollment than expected.
We are looking forward to the continual 12-month application process.
I’m also extremely supportive of K-12, because without that backbone, we die. I ask for your support of the following groups.
SILVER CONSOLIDATED SCHOOLS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Ben Potts, Silver Schools IT director
Bandwidth is a lot of our focus. We have the same bandwidth as Western, 6 percent of what the recommended national standards are for 2018. It costs us $67,200 a year out of operational funds.
It costs $116,000 a year to connect Harrison Schmidt, José Barrios, Sixth Street and Cliff. One school has less than 1 percent of the recommended standard for bandwidth and the best has 12.8 percent, which is a detriment to our teachers and students and all of it comes out of operational funds.
In 2016, the federal government decided it wanted to fund fiber projects. We can go out to bid to connect other schools.
We can use the E-Rate fund because we are an 80 percent school, because we are so rural. If Senate Bill 159 will pay 10 percent of the costs, the E-rate fund would kick in another 10 percent.
We ask support for Senate Bill 159.
We heard talk of cutting the Broadband Deficiencies Correction Program (BDCP). That would be a huge disservice for rural schools.
Fiber optic, at the current rates we’re paying, would save the district $2 million in operational costs over 20 years.
A fiber ring would connect Harrison Schmitt and José Barrios to our administration building.
Western is trying to bring in a big extension from UNM and Western would be our Internet provider. We’ve been working with Jason at Western over the past year.
We may come back later for capital outlay if E-Rate won’t pay for all of it,, so we have a ring of service and can use Western for all our phones and Internet in the district.
The E-rate will pay for all labor, which is expensive, and while it is being built, it would benefit other groups, who can pay just for the materials to get it. It would also provide redundancy.
Broadband is a big issue. The representatives need to keep an eye on the recommendations that came out of the Interim Science and Telecommunications Committee.
I will look through your presentation. I know SB 159 is extremely important.
You will see the difference between urban and rural. We are $28 for low bandwidth. At Gadsden, it’s something like $0.72. We are paying here an extra $30,000 per year for the state average of bandwidth.
SILVER CONSOLIDATED SCHOOLS GROWING TREE
John Carter, interim superintendent and Candy Milam, associate superintendent
The Growing Tree program is located on the Opportunity School campus to assist young mothers to graduate from high school.
It is a critical partnership with Western. Western and we provide faculty. We have 13 children of nine mothers who are at OHS. It gives them the opportunity to graduate.
The building is not unsafe, but is inadequate.
It is a 35-year-old building added onto with a permanent foundation. The original building we found settles, so the doors and windows won’t open. The electrical is not adequate, nor is the plumbing. The air conditioning and heating system is antiquated and not efficient.
The flooring is uneven. The fencing needs repair, and we need doors with a panic bar system. The kitchen is not convenient and has no storage.
We need 2,500 square feet for $250,000, as an extension of OHS.
Are you licensed with CYFD?
We are $90,000 short, and the school is not providing money for maintenance and repairs.
Thank you, Mr. Carter, for stabilizing the district.
We had a meeting with CYFD and I thought the $30,000 promised would be paid.
I contacted PED. We can contribute to paying an instructional aide. That just came up.
I hope that can happen. Mischa and I were among the first students to use that building that you are now using for Growing Tree.
We will have to do a capital outlay request. I’m supportive.
We are also putting it in our needs assessment for the bond.
Mr. Carter, thank you for stepping up to bring the school system and community back together.
COBRE CONSOLIDATED SCHOOLS
George Peru, deputy superintendent, José Carrillo, associate superintendent and Victor Arambula, facilities
I have a concern about the Early Childhood Learning Center losing funding. My daughter went there and got her associate’s degree from Western.
We need $310,000, with $105,000 of it for an activity bus and the rest for upgrading technology and the phone system.
We went from 9 MB to 100 MB at San Lorenzo. In the second phase, we’re going throughout the district at 25 MB. It takes time.
A lot of the switches are giving up. Cuts make it hard to come up with money.
We requested a bus last year. We have an aging fleet. It takes five buses to keep the academic and athletics programs going. We are trying to keep up the maintenance, but in New Mexico, there is a limit to how old a bus can be—a 20-years limit. In Arizona they can keep them going if they are still mechanically OK. We got a $79,000 cut in transportation funding.
The switches you want to replace. Is it because they won’t support higher speeds?
I was also looking for a recommendation for a scholarship program, but I got no feedback from Cobre or Silver for a full-ride scholarship to NMMI.
It wasn’t passed on to me.
It was a missed opportunity.
I will contact the principals and counselors.
We saved an appropriation for a new bus.
The bond will be sold Dec. 12.
We will order it as soon as last year’s appropriation comes in. We are also asking for another new one.
Are we in danger of another having a hose explosion like what happened last year?
We retired that one last year. We keep them mechanically sound. It was a fluke.
I thought we passed a waiver to extend the length of time you can use a bus?
It wasn’t passed. Morenci comes in with a 35-year-old bus.
I will follow up on the waiver.
A $79,000 cut in transportation? Was it part of the mandated cuts?
A portion of it. We’re not sure what kind of impact it will have. We have two contractors for bus service, Porter and Montoya. They will work with us. They have issues with buying buses, too. We may have to cut routes, which may impact some of the smaller children. The special ed routes won’t be cut.
The special ed buses have harnesses and also for pre-K students.
GILA REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER
Chief of Clinical Services Ray Goellner and Ashley Burkos, director of nursing
I want to give an overview of the services at Gila Regional Medical Center. We are the second largest employer in the community.
The hospital recently got a 4-star quality rating from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid.
I will talk about the mammography department.
The hospital is county-owned, so all dollars stay in the community, with a economic benefits of about $9.7 million.
Challenges we face include the Affordable Care Act and mandates from CMS.
Every major piece of high-end equipment has an IT component.
We have a conventional single-image mammography machine. We are asking for a 3-D, which takes images from many angles through tomosynthesis, which detects small breast cancers and creates clearer images. It would have a 40 percent enhancement of detecting cancer. And a 15 percent decrease in callback rates, instead of the 30 percent callback rate, which we have with the conventional mammography. It also used 40 percent less radiation.
This piece of equipment costs $171,000.
Is the hospital able to provide a match?
We could provide some of it, but perhaps not all of it. A match is in the realm of possibility.
SOUTHWEST CENTER FOR HEALTH INNOVATIONS
Charlie Alfero, director, and Miriam Kellerman
We are here to talk about a couple of programs.
We are a non-profit working on policy and program development issues that support the wellbeing of the people in this part of the state and in other places.
We operate three other non-profit organizations—The National Center for Frontier Communities, the New Mexico Primary Care Consortium and the National Reach Organization.
One of our focuses is developing a health care work force with two programs— Forward New Mexico that Miriam works at.
We provide programs from junior high to post-graduate students to promote entering into health care careers. We have 40 affiliate partnerships.
New Mexico is short of primary-care physicians, about 115 to around 400 short.
We have a five-stage model, beginning with helping to prepare students for the ACT, and they have shown a 29 percent increase in scores.
We help prepare students for the MCATs, with a 48 percent increase in test scores.
We provide opportunities for HMS for continuity of residencies. We have a dental relationship with an Arizona School and a dental school in Utah.
We work with a lot of kids, a lot of students who go through our program. A small number become physicians and dentists.
We have a number of medical students who do rotations here.
We are part of the New Mexico Primary Care Training Consortium, developing rural-based training around the state. HMS is the model, and has the only community-based residency.
We are looking at three pieces of legislation—two for funding of the two programs and one for policy to help DOH understand the role of providing physicians to fill the gaps.
From the high school level, we have had 14 or 15 students who are enrolled at universities and becoming physicians.
The dental school in Utah will accept up the four students from Western to dental school. The dental school in Arizona will also accept our students.
That gives us an effective dental school in New Mexico without having to bear the expense of creating one.
We would like to see a change in language in the Rural Health Care Act to help alleviate the health provider shortages. (he wasn’t speaking into the mike and couldn’t be heard??)
The reason we’re asking for dollars is because much of our programmatic dollars have been cut, with not a percentage but total cut.
And we’re asking for the language change because it’s not our job to address the shortage of providers, but it should be someone’s job.
It’s a concern when they come in with a 5 percent cut and then totally cut some programs.
There shouldn’t be a full cut when you do something beneficial.
It’s a beneficial program in rural areas and is spreading throughout the state. It’s an unfortunate process that can take away funding that helps student and impacts future health care providers. We want to change the mentality.
It’s not even new dollars we’re asking for. We’re trying to repurpose the dollars to their original purpose that have been repurposed to other purposes.
BEHAVIORAL HEALTH LOCAL COLLABORATIVE
Michael Carillo, Dentention Center administrator and Christina Lopez of KISS (Kids in Need of Support Services) and the Gospel Mission.
I want to thank Senator Morales for his support in changing the law and to Representative Zimmerman for his support for the continuum of care coalition.
We’re here in support of the Inmate Support Program. We are successfully integrating inmates back into the community, giving them access to mental and behavioral health services using the wraparound program while they are incarcerated. We develop life plans, and transition plans, using their natural support of families and friends.
Many have mental health issues.
Grant County and Silver City support the program and Luna County also.
The program is less than a year old, but the coordinator has brought in about 36 percent more funding.
Those who fully participate in the program have not returned to jail. That’s success.
Our goal is to increase the support and reduce the recidivism.
We request $122,907 in funding.
I, too, would like to thank Senator Morales and Representative Zimmerman.
I want to let you guys know we’re still here. All of us are committed and will continue the program, because it works.
In Deming, I worked with adolescents and we had great success.
I also have been involved with Western with the internship program we want to get going. A lot of the inmates have artistic talent. Western displays their art.
We have also had a huge impact with buying Christmas present for the kids of inmates. This is the second year we’ve done it.
I would also like to recognize Mary Stoecker for helping with a constitutional amendment to change language. I also recognize Kathleen Hunt for work on it.
Zimmerman put in funding, $100,000, for the program, but it got vetoed.
It was a pocket veto.
The language was vetoed, but the money is still there. DFA put in hard requirements, which almost eliminated it from Grant County. The governor vetoed it because it was not tri-county. I think you got the new application in.
Was the funding received?
The county received some. I think it was $20,000. The restrictions made it impossible to use, except for a few thousand.
The governor vetoed the county name, saying the only way to get the funding was through an RFP process. My understanding the money was awarded to other communities north of I-40.
The intent as interpreted by agencies isn’t working. We need to push that the power of the purse needs to go to the intended recipient, not someone else.
We need quality regulations for the coordinator.
The coordinator has a background in the issue. She has been working with limited resources.
It’s not billable to Medicare or Medicaid for contractual services?
It’s billable, but Medicaid is suspended if the person is incarcerated. The person is only eligible when he gets out. He has to reapply when he gets out.
You’re been really proactive and the program is successful.
It’s unfortunate that agencies can take away the funding allocated to you and give it to other areas. We have to address that.
The art aspect is good. It gives them purpose.
HIDALGO MEDICAL SERVICES
Dan Otero, chief executive officer
There are key opportunities that impact health care. HMS was incorporated in 1995 as a federally qualified health care and National Health Service Corporation site for the repayment of medical school loans.
We provide high quality health care and educational opportunities.
We are committed to be a national leader in frontier health care services.
We serve each year about 16,000 patients, with 833 coming from other parts of the state, from Arizona or Texas.
We have 72,000 encounters, with 13 locations in the two counties of Grant and Hidalgo.
Prior to HMS, only 70 percent had access to health care within 30 minutes of their home. Now it’s 96 percent.
We provide health, dental, mental health and family support services. We create 215 jobs. We are a $20 million organization, with $10 million in salaries and $10 million in operations.
The barriers are budget cuts and recruiting, payer credentialing and reimbursement challenges getting paid, as well as mental health funding and licensing.
We will run Tu Casa. HMS in Hidalgo and Grant counties does not have a clear plan moving forward if there are cuts.
The family resiliency program will be at risk. It is not too late for us to come together with other health care providers.
Is Medicaid increasing at all?
We get physicians credentialed and then they don’t get reimbursed. It’s a time-consuming process.
Will you get a pharmacy and will you be able to send out to other centers?
We can do it in Silver City, but in Lordsburg we don’t have a pharmacy.
I appreciate the mission of HMS. We will get into the reimbursements issue later.
GRANT COUNTY COMMUNITY HEALTH COUNCIL
Terry Anderson, co-chair, and Mary Stoecker, long-time council member
Our coordinator, Cari Lemon, is unable to be here today.
As you know health councils have had their funding cut.
45 percent of the original amount was cut, and now it’s up to 55 percent of it cut.
Our council recently reorganized and is housed now by the county.
We had a lot of members retire and have five new members.
We are revising our mission and vision, and we are streamlining our goals to align with what we can accomplish.
We are looking at getting stronger at regional collaboration.
For funding and initiatives, we are building partnerships, including the Inmate Support Program.
We are strengthening through the CYFD Pull Together program, which we are putting into play in Grant County and the region.
We do a lot of regional collaboration with Luna, Hidalgo and sometimes Catron counties.
The Health Council was a staff of three, and is now one. But we are excited about our strong foundation.
We’ve been going since the early ’90s. The Grant County Community Health Council has shown a lot of possible initiatives and outcomes.
Thank you for the work you’re doing. Grant County’s health council is a model for the state.
Agencies got an across the board 5 percent cut. I don’t like the approach because then the health councils got a 50 percent cut.
I had strong reservations about that when I received the confirmation from the DOH. I’m not sure I can support allowing this.
An Otero County commissioner came down to learn the wraparound model.
He is coming in as president or vice president of NMAC. He heard about and talked about us that we were not being funded.
As a former member, I understand your mission. Continue doing what you do.
And I’m going to miss Mary, who is retiring at the end of the month. She is a mover and shaker.
COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP FOR CHILDREN
Terry Anderson, acting president, and MariaElena Juarequi-Cross, director
Our project on shared services has brought together as many child care groups as possible. We want to create a hub for substitutes and administrative services.
We face barriers where we can place the service and in recruitment of individuals, who must pass a background check.
Our biggest struggle is with requirements.
We are working to get funding. We received funding through Freeport McMoRan’s Community Investment Fund in 2015 and through Con Alma, for which we are applying again next year.
We have written for the Freeport CIF again.
Ours is a stand-alone project, but in New Mexico we are working with Santa Fe.
We have accepted the challenge to grow the shared network program. Hopefully we can develop a model that can be used statewide.
I’m the project coordinator. One other barrier we have is that the Partnership is small. We are trying to grow it.
Let me know if you need help in removing regulations and requirements.
We got a partial waiver for the network.
Our main goal is the software.
We chose to call the substitutes the Relief Squad. The substitutes can climb the ladder into full-time positions.
We have campus, Montessori and faith-based groups working to keep their doors opens.
We hope to have food services as we grow. The hub will have more opportunities.
How do you gather information for your database?
All the vendors are doing their work individually. We want software to bring them all together. We’re having support from the national leader and we will bring in the leader to train us.
You mentioned you want to be fully funded. What is your full budget?
Good question. For 25 years, I ran the WNMU Early Childhood Program. Now I’m trying to figure out how to meld all the groups. The weak link is leadership. We do it because of passion. I hope a leader will help us plan. We have to figure out how to build it. Only in Grant County would I have this conversation. We will get a concise budget together.
If it gets implemented, you will have to have cooperation of all the services, so you will need incentives.
The five programs that have already agreed have created a memorandum of agreement to become part of the network.
Maybe not limit it to Grant County.
I have had New Mexico help. We don’t want to let it get cut from the CYFD website.
Let us know if you see threats.
My hope is that you can reach fulfillment of the project.
Debra Frasca, chief executive officer; ????, chief operations officer; and Cynthia???, early childhood intervention program manager
We all know the state of the state. But we want to keep you apprised of changes.
Senator Morales, thank you for past monies and appropriations.
There have been a lot of changes in the Department of Health. We are losing our director, who has been with us for the past five years.
The DD Waiver is being removed, which will mean a change to our standards. A mandate came down from the CMS final rule Know Your Rights. It’s an exciting mandate. It will mandate more integration and inclusion for those with disabilities and goes into effect March 2019 for implementation. A lot of work needs to be done in the state to get it up and running.
It will be challenging, with more costs for mandates to meet the milestones, but we’re up for it.
We serve four counties. We serve more than 30 adults and 250 children birth to age 3 for early intervention.
We’ve done a lot of grant writing to keep us afloat.
Senator Morales, you are aware of the due process bill that is still in draft and another one (spoken too fast) that we would like you all to be paying attention to. (Plus people were talking close to the camera drowning out the speakers. That needs to be fixed if a video is made next year!)
The program would have a negative impact on the only intervention agency in Grant County, Luna and Hidalgo. Last year, we served 130 in those counties.
We subcontract for therapists, physical and occupational, speech pathologist, and social workers and counselors. Many have received degrees at WNMU, NMSU and UNM.
We do a lot of outreach for the community. We provide hearing screening.
My concerns are when you say there is no money. But we also have to watch closely the cuts, because these are the first areas cut.
We have cut services, because we have had no reimbursement increases since the 1990s. We are stable now, but we can’t stand cuts.
OPEC cut its oil and gas production, so I hope we will see more oil and gas revenues come into the state.
I’m not as familiar with your program, but I’m a huge early childhood advocate. I will be happy to help.
We have a handout on how early intervention can save money down the road.
You are a tough agency. You have weathered challenges and continue to serve, especially the early childhood intervention.
MIMBRES REGION ARTS COUNCIL
Kevin Lenkner, executive director
I am beginning my 15th month in the job.
I’m here to advocate and to talk about the importance of New Mexico Arts. We get a grant from them. It’s important because it allows us to still be able to be a resource for art organizations.
We are making significant changes. We have a new mission statement. We are focusing on nurturing the community and creativity.
We are not asking for direct capital outlay, but we are looking within the next three to four years to move to a new location.
A quick kudos to you. Mimbres Regional Arts Council is known around the state. They see the community involvement. The Clay Festival and many others of your programs are given as examples of the community helping itself. I hear over and over that Grant County has great community involvement.
That’s what brought me here and has kept me here. We are also available for consulting.
I look forward to the collaboration of all the arts. You are promoting learning.
On Dec. 13 at the Public Library, we will hold a public forum for input. Education is not just the schools’ responsibility, but the community’s.
Thank you for advocating for the arts in schools.
Maybe you can collaborate with the Grant County Community Health Council on the inmate art program.
Arts and music, murals, music for the elementary schools gives the students pride.
Students ask me how long the murals will be up. I tell them the Roman ones are still around after 2,000 years.
SILVER CITY ARTS AND CULTURAL DISTRICT
Callie Kennington, executive director
The Silver City Arts and Cultural District was one of the pilot districts formed by New Mexico.
It contributes to the quality of life for residents and visitors. In the packet, you will see our accomplishments, including a letter about recent accomplishments and initiatives.
We are part of the New Mexico Resiliency Alliance. Our new website has a modern design. We have a new map.
We received from the New Mexico Department of Transportation $45,000 for an educational brochure and kiosks to direct people to our local tram system(??).
We are revitalizing the Greenways trailhead. We help put on the Clay Festival, which will have its sixth year next year.
We received a New Mexico Tourism marketing grant.
We ask you to support New Mexico Mainstreet Program’s funding and to restore the special appropriation fund, as well as the MainStreet capital outlay for infrastructure technical assistance to communities.
Silver City MainStreet Project has been very successful. Your Arts and Cultural District is one of the reasons.
Bayard renovated and expanded its library with state funding.
Expanding and exploring projects under your organization will be beneficial.
You have a great map.
I had a discussion with the New Mexico Tourism Department on the New Mexico True campaign.
How can we move on things in Grant County? We need to focus on the climate. Austin, Texas uses the tagline Keep Austin Weird. This is only an idea, but how about Keep Silver City Cool.
We do talk about “cool down at 6,000 feet.” And we talk about our moderate climate in the winter.
TOUR OF THE GILA
Jack Brennan, co-director with Michelle Geels
I don’t have much, just what’s going to happen in 2017.
In 2016, we had a record with 25 men’s pro teams and 15 women’s pro teams up from 10.
Two of our past winners made the Olympics—Mara Abbott, who received third, and Kristen Armstrong, who received an individual gold medal at Rio.
We were also up to 90 amateur riders last year.
We have fast and competitive races.
Social media is big for us. We hire a talented team to do Twittering on the UCI teams, men and women.
We had 1.4 million Twitter impressions and 1,400 now follow us on Facebook. Instagram, last year we had 650 new followers.
The date has changed this year to mid-April to work with USA Cycling calendar, primarily for the pro teams. It’s a better flow of races from the east coast to the west coast. In early April, they are in Arkansas, then us beginning on April 19, a week off, then California for the biggest, the Tour of California.
The only thing I ask. On Friday we have the time trials out of Tyrone. The pro men and women go first. We do a road closure of New Mexico 90. With the 180 guys and 90 women last year, we overflowed our allotted time.
We can cut the number of participants, but last year we went 10 minutes over.
I’ll work with the state police to get 30 minutes more of road closure. If I get pushback, I’ll ask for your help.
I went to New Mexico True and got no support from them.
She said they had no funds for it. But they didn’t answer my question on how much they give to the Balloon Festival.
We need to get the state behind the Tour of the Gila.
They said the Balloon Festival is international. People come from overseas for the balloon festival.
I told them international teams and support come for the Tour of the Gila, too.
You did a great job this year in between races. The community involvement has been there from day one.
Thank you and Michelle. This is a kick off event for Grant County, as the weather gets warmer. Have you applied for New Mexico Tourism grants?
They didn’t do them this year.
I’ll follow up. I saw no dollars going to local events.
They are not doing event sponsorships this year.
We’ve had problem with getting the state police helping as much. Like this year, they didn’t help with the rodeo.
We provide housing and meals for the state police that help us. They have been great. It’s just our sergeant was getting antsy when it was past the deadline to open the road, 10 minutes over.
We have to work with the UCI on how much time between racers, because I don’t want to cut down the number of teams.
We got a completely different response on the rodeo. We had to hire private security, because of mandates from Santa Fe.
I see you continue.
Yes, I didn’t retire.
The Tour of the Gila is really good for the economy and the state, although the state doesn’t seem to recognize it.
You and I have visited about maybe having smaller races.
Yes, one-day races.
On the weekends.
We have the Gran Fondo in the fall, which brings in a different type of cyclists, weekend riders. We had 80 riders, with a lot from out of town. They spend two nights here.
There are other bike events. The Tommyknocker in February at Fort Bayard sold out last year. And the Signal Peak Challenge in August.
What about the Continental Divide Race?
It goes from Banff, Canada, to Antelope Wells. It has stabilized at about 150 riders. But those touring is really big, as well as the Ride Across America from California to Florida.
Western is doing an economic impact study on bicycling in the community.
Get more riders, get more financial benefit.
Plus it’s cool in Silver City. You can ride all day. Not in Phoenix. And there is a big cycling market in Tucson and Phoenix.
SILVER CITY MAINSTREET PROJECT
Lucy Whitmarsh, executive director
Our organization is not specifically asking for capital outlay. We ask your support maintaining the funding for New Mexico MainStreet Program under the Economic Development Department.
Silver City MainStreet, Santa Clara Frontier Community and the Silver City Arts and Cultural District all rely on the funding.
The Economic Development Department is indicating if they don’t get the resources, they won’t have enough to expend in the communities.
We’re working on improvements to the Main Street Plaza.
We have a master plan and are applying for funding for restrooms.
The plaza is part of the connectivity of the urban trails and is home to the Farmer’s Market and provides parking.
At the height of the Farmer’s Market season, from May to October, it brings in about 500 people on Saturday mornings.
The plaza is a small remnant of the original Main Street, most of which was lost in the floods of the early 1900s.
It is a multi-use space. We will also apply for federal funding.
FORT BAYARD HISTORIC PRESERVATION SOCIETY
Cecilia Bell, president
I thank the Prospectors, who do a great deal of work and often don’t get thanks.
The Fort Bayard hospital is almost finished with the demolition.
When it was being demolished, it was a constant draw. We had more and more visitors to our museum.
We had a recent visitor, who was working on the record of his great-grandfather. As a tuberculosis lesson, a letter came from the daughter of a nurse who served under Patsy Miller.
Many students come and see the museum.
Next year, we will again have School Days as part of Fort Bayard Days.
We did a film festival this year, and will show a film about the beginning of World War I in the spring for Thursday night movies.
Thanks to State Forestry for taking down dead trees.
This past summer, Youth Conservation Corps students spent hours improving the landscape around the buildings at Fort Bayard. Next summer, we will help them learn to be docents and help catalog the buildings and contents.
Our No. 1 request is for you to support Santa Clara leasing the fort, so we can get grants.
With capital outlay in the past, we did work on the New Deal Theater, but we need to have the doors repaired.
Then we need to allow private funds to get the theater fixed inside.
I’ve been involved with Santa Clara Mayor Bauch and General Services Secretary Burckle.
I didn’t know if you were aware of the African-American Association in Albuquerque.
I was dumbfounded about how much they had on the Buffalo Soldiers. We will work more with them.
Gen. Colin Powell is chairman of the African-American Historical Society. I suggest you could ask to get grant funding from them.
There is a Zimmerman buried at Fort Bayard National Cemetery. It turns out there are only two branches of Zimmermans in the U.S. There is a good chance we are connected.
You’ve done a wonderful job at the museum.
We will consider capital outlay for the doors. Who is your fiscal agent? You will have to work through them.
We maybe will have to appropriate through the DOH and GSD.
Secreatary Burckle is now aware of the doors, so he might be receptive to the request.
We will find the avenue.
What did you mean when you said public funds?
I should have said funds from the public.
Continue to collect those funds.
It is good to see you.
And John and I are having our 50th anniversary at the Woman’s Club on Dec. 17. You are all invited. We had hoped to have it in the Fort Bayard theater, but it was not possible.
Has the heating and cooling system been updated at the theater?
No, but that’s a big project. But the way those buildings were built, we don’t really need air-conditioning if the doors and windows are open. If they windows are closed and the windows are better sealed, we don’t need a lot of heat.
The Buffalo Soldiers group in Albuquerque, have you contacted them?
Yes, a dentist in Albuquerque, his great-great-great grandfather was one of first Buffalo Soldiers to arrive at Fort Bayard. We also work with the Ninth Cavalry in Tucson and in El Paso.
We will work with the Concordia Cemetery in El Paso. We want a plaque to commemorate the first group of Buffalo Soldier at Fort Bayard.
So, yes, we have reached out to other groups with Buffalo Soldiers.
I truly believe more work has to be done before it can be leased to Santa Clara.
I don’t want to be a state park because of requestable funding. We think it would be better to work locally or perhaps part of a national park or monument. We’ll visit on this. I look forward to working with all of you.
IMAGINATION LIBRARY OF GRANT COUNTY
Loren and Barbara Nelson, founders of Imagination Library in Grant County
We are Imagination Library of Grant County. We appreciate the opportunity to talk about the program and its successes.
We attempt to keep you informed. Each month we mail 1,350 books to Grant County children. That is 80 percent of the eligible children.
We have a facility that delivers the more than 70,000 books we have mailed to date.
A study shows that reading proficiency has had a marked improvement since children have received Imagination Library books.
On a side note, I and some buddies from Minnesota were among the first, in the mid-1990s, to do a Continental Divide ride. One of the few places we overnighted was Silver City, and as a result we moved here.
CYFD chose us, Imagination Library, to receive $100,000 a year in a four-year contract to establish an early childhood literacy program in the state. The funding is used to encourage collaboration among affiliates and create new ones in the state paying 50 percent of the book costs.
We have $25,000 left of this year’s allocation that is unspoken for and five potential affiliates in various stages of development.
$66,000 that has already been granted will deliver more than 60,000 books.
We ask for the funding to continue beyond 2018 and if possible to be increased.
Next year, the appropriation may not cover everyone as we expect the addition of Bernalillo County to the program.
We have received about $14,500 in grants to assist affiliates in start-up costs.
One of our potential affiliates is in Truth or Consequences.
We want to speak specifically about the potential economic benefits of Imagination Library.
The statewide steering committee will hold its first meeting here in Silver City and they will stay in our hotels.
We are early in the stages of a biennial statewide early childhood literacy conference in 2018.
Most important, literacy programs drive success in school and life, focusing on all students reading well is a cost-effective strategy. Our state economy depends on building a highly educated and skilled workforce. Early childhood education is the most cost-effective way to accomplish these goals.
Thank you for your efforts. I still see them at every single event getting children signed up. Just like the First Born program. I take a lot of pride in seeing programs that started in Grant County going statewide. You guys had the vision and hopefully when more funding is available, it will help get your recognition for your statewide efforts.
I thank your for your efforts, and when you have the literacy conference, would you include First Book and Read Aloud? They will make great partners to help spread the message.
The Dollywood Foundation ensures that it provides at least two books in each age level that are bilingual.
And that’s throughout the whole country. We worked hard to get that to happen.
The statewide expansion of Imagination Library is happening so quickly. We have no reason to believe it will not be replicated throughout the state.
Thank you so much for the bi-lingual books.
CRAFT SPIRIT/CHARITY GAMING BILLS
It’s almost cocktail hour.
I am requesting that we add craft spirits to the wine and beer license.
I had been working on a tavern license and went through the processes.
Bill Soules and I put our heads together and decided that adding the craft spirits to the restaurants with wine and beer licenses would work.
There are places where it’s appropriate and places where it’s not.
The antiquated dinosaur licenses in this state cost $1 million or more.
Visitors may want a cocktail, such as a gin and tonic. It would get visitors here. Once they come and can’t get a cocktail at a restaurant, it’s hard to get them back.
The addition of the craft spirits would make money for the restaurants and extra on weekends.
We’re also considering a charity gaming bill, so charities can conduct fundraisers. We tried one once, and lo and behold, they are not legal.
The Department of Alcohol and Gaming told us not to do it anymore, because it’s not legal.
To get one, I was told I would have to talk to the district attorney and the police chief would have to talk to a Department of Public Safety Special Investigations Division agent, which is not my job.
I did talk to the SID and they told me to go back to Alcohol and Gaming.
We need to update this law, so groups can do poker runs. It needs to be codified and made legal through legislation.
Your major topic is liquor licenses. We have been trying to get the industry to come to us to get the sides together first. I think it would take several pieces of legislation to get things done.
It’s not a simple process. Who’s going to be responsible?
I chair the Rural Economic Development Committee. All the recommendations of the task force were not followed through on. I can visit between now and the legislative session when people have time to do something.
I have two questions. Where was the breakdown in the task force?
We had 40 people on the task force. Twenty showed up, half of them had liquor licenses. Some people had as many as 250 licenses. They were there to prevent changes. The licenses are worth so much money, they don’t want changes. My tavern license was a threat to them. The beer and wine restaurant licenses have no value.
What are craft spirits?
They are manufactured by small boutique distilleries and make fewer than 25,000 gallons a year. They can’t market around the country.
They say New Mexico distilleries marketing around the country would violate the commerce clause of the constitution.
We can define by production limits.
Thank your for your previous activities. The liquor license laws need to be updated to benefit small restaurants. I think maybe it will take baby steps. I want to sit and visit with you.
We can put a lot of restrictions on it, such as rural or in historical places.
It goes back to economics.
The restaurants are losing a lot of money.
The sponsor for the charity gaming bill in the House is Patricia Caballero.
I need a senator. And I need a representative for the craft spirits.
Larisch adjourned the session and again announced the date for the Prospectors Grant County Day as Feb. 1 in Santa Fe.