Rio Communities City Hall

RIO COMMUNITIES–The city of Rio Communities City Council unanimously approved the latest Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan for the municipality at its Aug. 23 meeting.

Councilor Peggy Gutjahr said the city had received capital outlay funding from the state Legislature for an assessment of needed storm water and drainage infrastructure in the past and was now requesting $1 million to complete the areas identified in the assessment.

In addition to that request, the city is requesting capital outlay funds to finish renovations at city hall, she said.

“The library is just about done and should be open in the next month,” Gutjahr said. “We have this whole side we want to use for recreation, which means we have to have things like fire suppression finished.”

The request for further city hall renovations is for $1 million.

The third request on the ICIP list is $750,000 for a parks and open space assessment plan. Gutjahr said the city’s park plan has been completed by the park committee.

The city is requesting $870,000 for public safety equipment, $606,250 for pavement reconstruction projects and $660,000 for highway beautification to keep things “clean and well-lit along N.M. 47,” Gutjahr said.

The No. 7 project on the list is a request for $1.05 million for roadways, trails, paths and sidewalks, followed by $1.05 million for streetlights.

Gutjahr said the city has completed streetlight projects on N.M. 304 and N.M. 47, and the additional funding would be used for streetlights in residential areas.

A new fire department complex is No. 9 on the list with a request for $750,000.

“The city has purchased the land next to the department for the complex,” Gutjahr said. “We have two new brush trucks and a new tanker. We need more space.”

An additional $750,000 will be requested for a public works complex and $300,000 for public works heavy equipment.

The city also requested $540,000 for county-wide emergency and public safety communications equipment, a project other municipalities and the county have requested funding for.

Councilor Jim Winters said the need for storm water drainage infrastructure goes back at least seven years.

“We had a group of people who decided we needed a plan. We started the process of getting a flood plain plan, which was approved about a year ago,” Winters said. “We now have a plan and now can apply for money. We just applied to (New Mexico Department of Transportation) for money to fix the drainage problem on the west side of town. It got approved because we had a plan.

“If you don’t have a plan, you might as well ask your next door neighbor because it’s not going to happen.”

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Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.