County commissioners learn of dam ownership

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According to the former county manager, Valencia County owns a drainage dam.

Earlier this year, Eric Zamora said the county was contacted in May 2005 by the Office of the State Engineer, requesting an emergency plan for the dam. However, since then, nothing has been done, so OSE put out the word again that the county needed to maintain the dam.

"We recently met with OSE and they have inspected the dam," Zamora said. "It is in poor condition because of lack of maintenance, needs vegetation control and a spill way. OSE is requesting an emergency action plan. I have forwarded this on to Hoss (Foster)."

Foster is the county's flood plain control manager.

The commissioners were silent for a few moments, digesting the news.

"Where is this," Commissioner Mary Andersen asked.

Zamora said is was between the northern most and middle Interstate 25 exits to Belen, between the Highline Canal and the interstate.

"Are we responsible for it," asked Commissioner Ron Gentry.

Zamora said it is licensed to the county.

"We're not sure when or how that happened," he said. "We just receive the letter of violations. Hoss (Foster) will do in-depth research to find out."

Gentry asked how much it could cost the county to correct the violations. Zamora said the vegetation removal and maintenance were in the vicinity of a few thousand dollars, but the spillway could cost nearly $50,000

Gentry asked if the dam was on private property or possibly within the city of Belen's boundaries.

Zamora said those were issues that needed to be research.

He said the dam catches the water flow that comes under I-25 off the mesa.

In other business, the commissioners unanimously approved accepting $503,627 in road funds from cooperative state funds, school bus route funds and county arterial program funds.

The state provides 75 percent of the total and the county puts up a 25 percent match, when the funding becomes available.

Gentry said he received several calls from people living in his district, concerned that the information about the road funds posted on the county's website included nothing for District 4.

He said over the last few years, he has been accumulating CAP, COOP and school bus monies allotted to his district money to make sure entire roads are finished, instead of spot patching them.

"We finalized the list (Tuesday) and are still waiting on a few bids," Gentry said. "We are going to have all the funds to include almost all of the requests, about 29 projects, paved, re-patched, re-surfaced or slurried.

"There will be $400,000-plus going out in the next 30 days that is going to address almost 100 percent of the problems."


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.