Village council approves ICIP; five priorities

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Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plans, better known as wish lists, don't mix well with economic recession, but the top five priorities on the village of Los Lunas list seem more like necessities.

Nevertheless, the priorities have sat on the shelf these past few years due to lack of funding. They are expensive projects, ranging from $2 million to $5 million.

"There hasn't been any state or federal government funding for capital outlay projects," said Ralph Mims, the village's economic development manager.

No. 1 on the list is purchasing more filter cassettes for the membrane bioreactor at the wastewater treatment plant,

The need to purchase more cassette filters for the MBR system has become the most urgent since the village extended sanitary services to the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility last year.

"We didn't know what to expect, what kind of flows, but once we had the prison for four or five months, we noticed that our capacity was being reached on our original cassettes," said Ruben Moreno, assistant plant operator.

Last year, the Legislature awarded the village $50,000 for the initial stages of installing more filter cassettes, which the village had to match, said Kevin Eades, vice president of civil engineering at Molzen-Corbin.

The engineers are preparing the procurement documents, which include the minor modifications necessary to install the cassettes, but until the village secures funding to purchase them, the project will sit on the shelf.

About the same can be said for the east side water loop. Right now, the village engineers are in the preliminary design stage, and that's all the village has funding for.

Molzen-Corbin plans to be done with the project next spring, but there are no construction dollars yet, Eades said. Currently, the engineers are about midway to completing the design.

It is a team effort among department heads, the administrator, and on some projects, the engineers, to find funding for the ICIP projects, said Los Lunas Village Administrator Greg Martin.

He is confident funding for the MBR cassettes will be secured within the next year.

Second on the list is getting a west side fire substation built, and purchasing a fire ladder truck. The village already owns the property for the substation, but again, funding is the issue, Martin said.

As more development takes place, the more urgent is the need for a west side fire substation, he said.

The eastern water loop is third on the list, and land purchases to secure right-of-way for the Morris Road corridor project is fourth.

Luckily, corridor land purchases are in process, thanks to a little more than $2 million the village has left over for the project.

Development of the new village master plan is underway. It is funded by a $50,000 federal Community Development Block grant, distributed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said Christina Ainsworth, community development director.

The comprehensive plan is expected to be completed by the end of December.

"We hope to have it adopted in January 2013," said Ainsworth.

Some of the completed projects include two major pedestrian and street reconstructions on Emilio Lopez Road and Camelot Boulevard, trail enhancements at Los Cerritos Park, plus phase two and three of the Huning Ranch Park construction.

Further pedestrian and road improvements on N.M. 314, south of Main Street, are fifth on the list, and are planned to be completed within the next two years.

One item taken off the ICIP list was a miniature golf course park, as requested by Councilor Charles Griego.

Last year, he questioned prioritizing several items, citing the economic recession. These included the miniature golf course and batting cage, which was scheduled for 2014, a convention center scheduled for 2014, an aquatic center scheduled for 2015, and an amphitheater scheduled for 2016.


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