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City to pick top 5 capital projects Thursday

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In a special meeting Thursday, the Roswell City Council will choose its top five projects for a five-year capital improvements plan.

Those five projects will make up the city’s 2022-2026 Infrastructure Capital Improvements Plan submitted to the state for possible capital outlay allocations.

The list councilors have to choose from, submitted by departments and reviewed by the city’s committees, consists of 52 projects totaling more than $37 million dollars.

The meeting will be 5 p.m. Thursday in Meeting Room A of the Roswell Convention and Civic Center, 912 N. Main.

The public is encouraged to participate electronically through virtual meeting platform GoToMeeting. From a computer, tablet or smartphone the meeting can be accessed at https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/815060573, or by calling 669-224-3412 and using access code 815-060-573.

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Also at the meeting, the council will consider dissolving more city employee furlough days and giving the city manager priorities of how increased revenue should be spent.

Among the biggest projects the city’s departments submitted for consideration for the ICIP are an expansion of the Roswell Air Center terminal and its apron ramp rehabilitation, construction at the landfill, new fields at Cielo Grande Sports Complex, paving on McGaffey Street and replacement of the North Garden Street Bridge.

The request for design and construction of the terminal at the air center is $2.5 million. Supporting documents in the meeting agenda say the expansion is needed because the secure waiting area and baggage return area need to be expanded to meet current and future demand.

The request for the RAC apron ramp rehab is $2 million. That project would repair the ramp, which dates to when the airfield was a military base. Parts of it have begun to crack and crumble, creating a potential safety hazard for airplanes.

The largest amount of requests came from the departments under the General Services Committee, with a request for construction of two new quad fields at Cielo Grande coming in at $13 million. The Recreation Department also has a request for lighting at Cielo Grande for $500,000.

The Solid Waste Department has requested $3.5 million for completion of Cell No. 5 at the landfill, as well as $220,000 for reconstruction of the scale house and drive-thru at the landfill.

The engineering department has requested two major projects — paving West McGaffey Street from Wyoming to Union avenues and reconstruction of the North Garden Street Bridge. Each request is for $750,000.

The Public Safety Department has submitted almost $2 million in requests. That includes $400,000 to renovate the Roswell Police Department station at 128 W. Second St. and almost $153,000 for new police vehicles.

The Roswell Fire Department requests are $900,000 for replacement of self-contained breathing apparatuses and $200,000 for replacement of enhanced personal protective equipment suits.

A $50,000 request would pay to update and revise the Emergency Department’s Emergency Operations Plan, and a $70,000 request is for new 911 consoles.

The city’s IT department has also requested $420,000 for the consolidated dispatch project.

Other large projects that will be under consideration include the following:

• $1.4 million from the Water Production Department for city-wide replacement of variable frequency drive pumps.

• Just over $1 million for three new side-loader vehicles in the Solid Waste Department.

• The Roswell Public Library has submitted three projects: roof repairs at $170,000; improving draining and leveling the sidewalk on the north side of the building for $257,000; and $108,000 to pay the difference between repair costs and insurance payout for damage from a water leak inside the building in June.

• The Spring River Zoo submitted two projects: $28,000 for new fencing for the elk enclosure and $50,000 to upgrade the party room.

• $1.1 million to replace the existing maintenance building and pro shop at the Nancy Lopez Golf Course at Spring River.

The complete list of projects can be seen on the agenda at http://www.roswell-nm.gov/AgendaCenter/City-Council-27/

The council will also consider removing two more furlough days from the scheduled 10 included in the city’s fiscal year 2021 budget.

The furloughs are part of the city’s cost-cutting measures to deal with expected revenue loss from the coronavirus pandemic and downturn of the oil industry. No furlough days were scheduled for November and December, giving each employee one pay period of furlough spread out over the year.

The city had already dissolved furlough days for July and August due to the high number of employees taking early retirement or voluntary severance packages and June’s gross receipts taxes coming in higher than budgeted.

GRT for July and August have come in at more than $2.3 million than budgeted, so the council will consider dissolving furloughs through December.

The council will also consider putting future decisions on furloughs on City Manager Joe Neeb, rather than the council. An action item on the agenda would direct Neeb that should revenue continue to exceed budget projections, the priority of the use of the funds would be first to eliminate furlough days; second to reinstate step pay increases for all city personnel; and third for staff to present a list of facility and equipment expenditures for future consideration by the council.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.