Bosque Farms approves ICIP village needs

........................................................................................................................................................................................

On a unanimous vote, the village of Bosque Farms council approved the Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan for capital outlay requests at its Sept. 20 meeting.

Every year, the village council generates a list of capital improvement projects for the municipality, ranked in priority order, to submit to the state Legislature.

Once the session begins, local representatives lobby for the funds needed by the entities they represent.

The top five projects on the village's approved 15-item ICIP list for the coming session were in compliance with mandated arsenic regulations; waste water dewatering system; completion of installation of water read meter system; additional treatment plant/clarifier and water booster station No. 2 improvements.

Resurfacing the tennis courts was ranked seventh and relocation of the dispatch center was immediately after. Construction of a recreation facility was No. 12, village office renovations were 13th and funds for a master plan update was last, at No. 15.

As councilors evaluated their annual wish list at the Aug. 16 meeting, there was a great deal of satisfaction that they could scratch one major project off the list.

The expansion of the village's library has been fully funded and there was a ground breaking in late September.

However, there was a request that didn't sit well with the governing body.

Village Clerk/Administrator Gayle Jones informed the councilors that after a recent 911 board meeting, the director of the Valencia County Regional Emergency Call Center asked that all the entities who contribute funding to the center for operations add a capital expenditure request to their annual infrastructure capital improvement plan.

"This would be to move VCRECC out of the Los Lunas Police Department building," Jones said. "We discussed moving it to the district courthouse, but the judges seemed hesitant."

Jones said the 911 board also considered moving the center to the village's Wellness Center on Main Street, east of the river, so that it would be under Los Lunas' authority, but not in the police department.

Councilor Wayne Ake was the first to speak out against it, including the funding on the village's ICIP.

"This is a good example why people in Valencia County no longer approve these bond issues," Ake said. "When I was mayor, I personally delivered a letter from this then-governing body supporting the project with the stipulation that there be room for dispatch in that building.

"I hope residents and voters in this county, if they ever want something else at that complex, don't approve it because they don't stand by their word."

Knowlton said he was "curious why the judges get to make the decision." Jones said the board wanted to know that too.

"The answer I got from the previous county manager was to take it up with the county commissioners," she said.

Knowlton said the village should look at the original legislative appropriation for the courthouse project.

"They have to follow that," he said.

Ake said they didn't even have to go that far.

"It was designated right there on the plans," he said.

Knowlton asked if there was a "dollar amount" being requested. Jones said the 911 board wrote a letter to the county's congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., to request $375,000 for the project.

Jones said the request has been made to include the funding.

"They will be putting it on Los Lunas, but by putting it on ours and Belen, it shows solidarity and support," she said.

The councilors also discussed other priority projects on their ICIP, including the water and sewer system needs if the town of Peralta began sending its sewage to the village, what to do with the Woodall property and parking needs at the village administrative building.

What to do with the Woodall property on the North Loop and the village's recreational space in general garnered the most discussion.

During a workshop to discuss updating the master plan and how the newly acquired property fit into the village's long term plans, several suggestions were made for use of the Woodall property, ranging from a new multipurpose recreation building to open playing fields to an outdoor performing space with a gazebo and small amphitheater.

The councilors also discussed the possibility of moving the tennis courts, currently located next to the library, over to the Woodall property and consolidating recreational facilities.

Knowlton said a quick Internet search indicated new tennis courts could cost between $50,000 to $100,000 per court.

The mayor said the courts were badly cracked and in need of resurfacing.

Jones said she got several calls a year about the condition of the tennis courts. Knowlton said other possibilities included turning the old courts into parking or expanding the library in that area.

Village resident Lee Wharton said she was glad the idea of resurfacing the tennis courts had come up.

"I would very much appreciate it if you would consider saving money to resurface the tennis courts and not pave more of Woodall," Wharton said. "I would rather see you put a small museum down there (on Woodall) with a small crafts store."

When Knowlton asked how much it would cost to renovate the courts, and Ake estimated "lots." Ake pointed out that there is paved parking in front of the village building that only got full during the day or "when we make some kind of bone headed move. Why do we want go down there and pave courts and a lot for people to park to play.

"And there is a government grant involved in those courts. We need to check into them. We might not be able to do anything."

Jones said during a recent pre-bid meeting for the library expansion, there was no parking available for the contractors.

"We get the overflow from the school," she said. "The school has taken over the lot since we've stopped them from parking on the loop."

Councilor Dolly Wallace said by expanding the already well-used village library, they could anticipate more people using the facility and thus the need for more parking.

"I don't like to pave over things, but we need to seriously look at our options," Wallace said. "The tennis courts are rec. We chose here to put all our recreation activities at. It would behoove us to not have them scattered around."

Wharton pointed out that the decision to put the exercise equipment between the bike path and the tennis courts was made for that reason.

Shane Neil, who lives on Velta Drive, said he opposed the idea of putting tennis courts on the Woodall property.

"It's a lovely area," Neil said. "I would like to see something more like a multipurpose park."

Knowlton said the councilors could leave the tennis courts lumped in the broad category of "recreation" or separate out the resurfacing and put in a request for $30,000 to $50,000.


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