Belen council seeking funds to replace water tank

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The city of Belen is seeking $1.2 million to construct a replacement for a 70-year-old water tank beyond repairs and out of service for more than five years.

The city of Belen is seeking $1.2 million to construct a replacement for a 70-year-old water tank beyond repairs and out of service for more than five years.

City councilors approved a grant application to the New Mexico Finance Authority's Water Trust Board for the construction of a $1.2 million water tank replacing Eagle Tank at a recent meeting.

"This is the same project that we've been working on," said Councilor Wayne Gallegos.

Replacement of the water tank is one of the top five capital improvement project priorities listed in the city's Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan.

The 70-year-old water tank has been out of service for more than five years. Without the one-million gallon tank, the city's maximum water capacity decreased to four and a half million gallons.

"It's beyond any kind of repairs and would need to be demolished and replaced," said Bridgette Fuller, of Wilson & Company, Inc., at the meeting.

The council also approved a resolution to taking responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the portable storage water tank located on Interstate 25 and Camino del Llano.

The resolution, paired with the application, demonstrated the city's "really ready" and committed to move forward with this project, Fuller said.

"By committing city services and resources, this is what we're doing," Gallegos said. "We need this resolution so (the board) knows that we're not just going to get (the tank) built and no one will be responsible for it."

The application, prepared by the engineering and architecture firm Wilson & Company, Inc., was due Nov. 2.

If the application is approved, the Water Trust Board will recommend the project for Water Project Funds to the Legislature for the 2013 Legislative Session beginning in January.

A final decision will be determined in June 2013.

The Water Project Fund consists of a grant paired with a 10 to 40 percent loan and 20 percent city match.

The amount of the loan is based upon an audit, completed by NMFA, compiling information on the city's financial, managerial and technical capacities.

But the city may be eligible for partial forgiveness of the loan based upon this audit, Fuller said.

In the past, the city received Water Project Funds for the water tank's engineering design plans, but later returned the money since they didn't have matching funds, Gallegos said.

Mayor Rudy Jaramillo said at the meeting, "We felt it was in the best interest of the city to return the design money and come back this year and say, 'Look we're ready. We have the design that we paid for.'"


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