Peralta works on plan for town's future

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Peralta town officials say improving the quality of roads is the most immediate need that is expected to be addressed as part of a long-term plan for the town.

Officials are working with the Mid-Region Council of Governments on a comprehensive plan that should give the town a road map of where they want to go in the future.

The plan includes strategies that range from updating ordinances to developing a master drainage plan for an eventual wastewater system for Peralta.

The comprehensive plan predicts what the town could look like in the next 20 years. Having the plan in place will allow town officials to go after additional state and federal funds, such as the Community Development Block Grant, a $500,000 grant that helps address a specific need.

The town plans to apply for the grant next month.

"The whole point of the comprehensive plan is to set the community up for the next 20 years," said Derrick Webb, regional planner with the Mid-Region Council of Governments.

A survey showed residents most supported promoting agricultural activities within the town limits. The preservation of drinking water and establishing design standards for maintaining the local road system were also top concerns.

Peralta Mayor Bryan Olguin said the quality of roads are essential to the town's development. The town is working toward building a strong commercial base along N.M. 47.

Improving roads has been an ongoing project. Officials have prioritized which roads are in the most dire need of repair.

One of those roads, Chughole Lane, will soon be repaired through a legislative appropriation, Olguin said.

He said the town was able to secure the funding since Chughole has the "highest rate of crashes" in the town.

Councilor Leon Otero said addressing roads is essential to building a commercial base in Peralta and increasing gross receipts taxes, a primary revenue source of the town.

He said roads are "tangible things you can see," and in the case of Chughole, the widening of the road, should make residents feel more safe to drive on, he said.

Otero said projects, such as the N.M. 47, will be crucial to attract additional businesses to Peralta.

Another part of Peralta's future includes the wastewater project that will eventually tie into the current system in the village of Bosque Farms. The town will use a $250,000 2012 legislative appropriation for the design of the system.

Last month, officials learned the system could cost tens of millions more than previously thought, according to a preliminary engineering report.

The report said the project is estimated to cost $35 million — $22 million more than what was originally reported by CDM Smith, an Albuquerque consulting and engineering company. The project was estimated to cost $13 million on the high end and would be completed in phases.

Officials are expected to discuss the matter at the town's next meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 23.

Otero said the comprehensive plan will change as the priorities of Peralta morph over time.

"The comprehensive plan is required in order for us to secure money," he said.


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