City officials name top priorities for 2010

By Argen Duncan: PNT Senior Writer

As priorities in 2010, the Portales city manager includes current and future improvement projects such as opening the Yam Movie Palace and working on street drainage.

“First on the list is a new ambulance to provide emergency care for the community,” City Manager Tom Howell said.

Howell said a new ambulance would cost $110,000, or the city could refurbish one for $75,000.

Howell said the city has dependable ambulances, but one of the units has 200,000 miles on it.

“We make so many transfer runs to Lubbock, that a new ambulance makes sense,” he said.

For another priority, Howell said the city is looking to send out a request for proposal for an engineer to design of a new wastewater treatment plant.

“This will cost around $500,000,” Howell said.

Howell said having an engineer on board and a design in place makes the plant a “shovel ready” project.

“We are always applying for funding to build the plant,” Howell said. “This will place us one step ahead in the process. If and when the funding is available we will be able to proceed.”

Another priority is opening the Yam Movie Palace for public use.

Howell said restoration of the theater has been going on since 2008 and has cost $653,000 to date.

Howell said the theater could be used for art shows, meetings, local music attractions and more.

Also, the city would like to do median improvements on U.S. 70 throughout Portales.

Howell said the project would cost $249,000 and the funding is available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Workers would place asphalt with live vegetation, he said.

To round out the top five priorities, Howell said the city is looking into money and solutions for the streets’ drainage issue.

“The problem is Portales is in a hole and the water does not seem to drain well,” he said. “Several streets in town become flooded when we have a heavy rain.”

Howell said there is no projected cost for this project. He said it may take some time to develop a solution because of the multiple areas affected.