Meetings watch: Eastern NM water authority

The Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority met Thursday morning in Melrose. Here’s a report on the meeting:

• John Ryan, a federal consultant for the project, said he is hoping for an appropriation of $2 million to $4 million in the 2011 federal budget, and is hoping to ramp up appropriations and construction with a $25-million request for 2012.

That amount of money would give more hope to the Ute Water Project, which would pipe water from the Ute Reservoir near Logan to authority members in eastern New Mexico, could be done in a decade after the first shovel hits the ground.

“Our delegation is supportive,” Ryan said, “but the urgency of the project isn’t getting to some of the federal officers, as to why our project should be catapulted ahead of other projects that are making the same claims.”

He said there was an “uphill battle” for 2012 money, based on projections of budget cuts and an intent to prioritize projects with a Native American settlement component.

Authority Chair and Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield said when work on the intake structure begins, “that’s going to be the biggest catalyst” for receiving more federal funding.

• The authority designated the City of Clovis as the fiscal agent, a step it had not yet completed since moving into utility authority status in June. The change requires an annual audit, which Clovis City Finance Officer Don Clifton said can be incorporated into the city’s required audit.

Also required was the naming of an authority member as group secretary. The group gave the title to Curry County Commissioner Caleb Chandler.

• The next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Oct. 21, tentatively at Portales City Hall.

— Compiled by CNJ staff writer Kevin Wilson