RIO COMMUNITIES — The city councilors in the county’s newest municipality have come up with its plan for the most needed future projects, approving its Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan.
No. 1 on Rio Communities’ list is for a storm water and drainage plan, which Bob Skerry, the city’s manager, said will be the first step in addressing ongoing problems. The cost for the plan, which includes hiring an engineering firm, will cost about $100,000.
Skerry said the engineering firm will look at the arroyos in the city and come up with a plan for holding and retention ponds to help break up the flow of monsoonal rain events.
“Most of the cities in the high desert have the same problem,” Skerry said.
The second priority is public safety equipment, which addresses issues with the Rio Grande Estates Fire Department.
Skerry said the department is in need of two brush truck chassis, which will cost about $150,000; a mobile cascade breathing air-fill and compressor, $75,000; a back-up generator, $50,000; and an engine/pumper, $500,000.
Pavement reconstruction, which the city has been working on for several years, is the third priority, with a cost estimated at $700,000. Skerry said the city needs funding to add new asphalt to minor arterial roads, Horner and Hillandale.
The city has received four grants for road reconstruction that it’s now administering, and are getting ready to apply for two more.
“The key to this is we’ve been very frugal with money so we can use it for matching grants,” Skerry said. “We get the grants, but most of them are reimbursements, meaning we have to fully fund them before we are reimbursed.”
The fourth priority is a parks and open space assessment plan, estimated to cost $250,000. Skerry said negotiations have been in place to get back parks that were historically part of Rio Communities.
He also said they are working on getting more open space and trails for residents to recreate. The plan would include designing open spaces, recreational parks, sports fields and walking, hiking and bike trails.
City councilors also included city hall and emergency operations center as its No. 5. priority on its ICIP. Through several phases, the city has been able to acquire its city hall complex and is currently renovating the exterior.
The council hopes to receive additional funding to finish renovation of the 20,000-square foot building, which includes adding an emergency operations center.
Future plans is to accommodate new government offices, including a municipal court, and additional space for a library, Rio Metro Park and Ride, community use and recreation center, law enforcement substation, and a RGEFD administrative office.
The No. 6 priority is for $400,000 in roadway beautification, and No. 7. is for a simulcast radio system for public safety for the Valencia Regional Emergency Communication Center, which will cost $6 million.
Councilor Peggy Guthajr said the ICIP is important because when they ask legislators for capital outlay funding for projects, the first thing they ask is if it’s on their ICIP.