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County wants public input on capital projects

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The widening of a bridge on West Brasher Road near several industrial businesses and the city landfill is on the existing county list for projects needing public funding. The public can suggest additional or new items for the 2023-27 list at a meeting this week. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

County residents will have a chance to tell county commissioners what building, road, equipment or other capital projects they think deserve public funding in future years when the Chaves County Board of Commissioners meets this week.

The annual public hearing for the county’s fiscal years 2023-27 Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan (ICIP) is planned as part of the Chaves County Board of Commissioners meeting at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Chaves County Administrative Center, 1 St. Mary’s Place.

The Board of Commissioners meeting also will be livestreamed at www.facebook.com/ChavesCountyNM, with the recording posted afterwards.

“I want to encourage everyone to come to our county commission meeting next Thursday because that will be an opportunity for the public to input things on our ICIP,” said County Manager Bill Williams. “They can make suggestions for things they would like to see or priorities change for items we already have for that infrastructure plan.”

The state requires local governments to do annual updates of their ICIP lists for all capital projects that they would like to receive funding for from the New Mexico Legislature.

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Fiscal year 2023 starts on July 1, 2022, and the legislature would make decisions about the funding awards during the 2022 session, expected to start in January.

The existing 2022-26 ICIP list is available online on the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration website. It is also part of the Board of Commissioners agenda for the upcoming meeting.

The county Community Development director said that projects on the existing list are likely to remain there.

“Due to the fact that the ICIP is a ‘living document,’ we have a great deal of flexibility with it,” said Georgianna Hunt. “The majority of the projects on the 2022-2026 ICIP Project Summary will remain, with minor date changes or budget changes based on information provided by the reporting department or agency. If a project is completed or no longer needed, we remove it, and then add in new projects based on information provided.”

Eligible nonprofits or community service agencies in the area that use the county as their fiscal agent also can present their funding requests.

“Sometimes the public sees an issue that needs to be addressed or has an idea that they would like to see implemented,” Hunt said.

She added that volunteer fire departments in Chaves County and other community-serving agencies had 186 projects on the 2022-26 ICIP seeking funding over that five-year period.

She also said that people who cannot attend the Thursday meeting but want to discuss project ideas can contact her, Public Services Director Mac Rogers or County Manager Bill Williams.

In August, commissioners will identify the top five funding priorities and will forward the list to the state.

Area legislators typically hold public meetings to hear about capital outlay requests in Roswell and other cities in November or December prior to the start of the legislative session.

The commission agenda indicates that eligible projects must cost $25,000 or more, have a lifespan of at least 10 years, benefit the public and meet a community need.

Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.