Portales to request $15M in stimulus money

By Mickey Winfield: PNT staff writer

The City of Portales and Roosevelt County want a piece of the proposed $838 billion federal stimulus bill pie.

According to Portales City Manager Debi Lee, the city will request approximately $15 million for six projects — the biggest of which is a new waste water plant, with an estimated cost of about $7.5 million.

Among other projects, the city is requesting money for water well system work, streets, railroad crossing improvements, enhancements to the city pool and a gymnasium.

The money requested for the waste water treatment plant represents 45 percent of the city’s request.

“I don’t think anybody really knows what’s going to happen,” Lee said. “I think the assumption is that we turn in these projects and then if the bill gets passed and gets through Congress, we’ll have to apply to various agencies to get the projects approved.”

Lee said much of the money has already been requested in the form of earmark legislation by New Mexico Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall.

Roosevelt County is also requesting $7.3 million to renovate and improve N.M. 88, according to County Manager Charlene Hardin.

“We’re pretty hopeful that we’ll get the money for the (highway),” Hardin said. “It’s been a need for a long time, and we’ve been on District 2’s radar list for this for several years.”

The county is also looking into building a new multi-purpose building on