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City council to consider disaster declaration

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Water continues to flow down Ryan Road and other streets into yards and parking lots Monday in south Roswell, a week after heavy rains breached a flood control levee about 1.25 miles west of town. The Roswell City Council will consider approving a disaster declaration at its regular meeting Thursday evening. (Juno Ogle Photo)

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The Roswell City Council at its regular meeting this week will consider approving a disaster declaration for flooding from rains a week ago that is still affecting the southern part of the city.

It will be some time before a full financial assessment of the damages can be complete, Mayor Dennis Kintigh said Monday.

“We still have water flowing out there and that hasn’t been stopped yet,” he said.

Kintigh said he’s certain the damage will meet the threshold for receiving funds from the state, which is $248,138.

“Part of the challenge there is we’re not really going to know what we’ve got until the waters do go down,” he said.

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He’s less certain about federal funds, as that threshold is $6 million. However, it can include damages from more than one county. Kintigh said he was aware that Lincoln County was looking into a disaster declaration as well. Chaves County has submitted its declaration to the state.

Any funds the state sends in response to the disaster will be limited to recovery of public facilities, however, Kintigh said.

“That’s what we’re learning about this. The funding is to restore public infrastructure and operations. This was news to me,” he said.

“The federal (government) apparently has options for helping private parties, but the state does not, is my understanding at this time,” he said. “Needless to say it’s very frustrating.”

Damage to streets is the main concern, Kintigh said, but he is also hopeful something can be done to divert the continuing flow of water.

Rain from a 100-year storm that dropped about 5 inches in a 24-hour period, along with water overflowing the Rocky Dam at Twin Rivers Dam, about 12 miles west of town, breached a flood-control levee about 1.25 miles west of Roswell. That water flowed into the Rocky Arroyo.

The mayor, along with county officials, New Mexico Secretary of Homeland Security Bianca Ortiz Wertheim and a team from her department toured the flooded areas Thursday.

“It has not gone into the Hondo River channel” and instead flowed into Roswell, Kintigh said.

“I would very much like to see immediate steps taken to alleviate the current crisis, temporary or emergency actions to redirect the flow into the river channel as opposed to into people’s yards and businesses and parking lots,” he said.

Kintigh said talks toward that are ongoing.

The city council will consider a resolution regarding the disaster declaration at its meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Roswell Convention Center, 912 N. Main.

The meeting will be livestreamed on the city’s YouTube channel and the public can participate electronically through GoToMeeting. By computer, tablet or smartphone, the meeting can be joined at https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/815060573. To join by phone, call 669-224-3412 and use access code 815-060-573.

The council will also consider approving resolutions that will designate polling places for the 2022 municipal elections, accepting the fiscal year 2020 city audit, and the sale of surplus property.

The council will also consider scheduling public hearings and votes on two proposed ordinances, one on residential and commercial energy conservation codes and one on the election code.

Public hearings and votes scheduled for Thursday will address proposed ordinances authorizing the sale of industrial revenue bonds for Leprino Foods, and updating city code regulating camping and nuisances.

The Roswell Hispano Chamber of Commerce will present its annual report to the council as well at Thursday’s meeting.

Items scheduled for the consent agenda include a request for proposals to create a pool of contractors for tree service and designation of the old Chisum School site as a city park. All items on the consent agenda will be approved in one vote unless a councilor requests an item be removed from the consent agenda and placed on the regular agenda for separate discussion and vote.

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