By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
Portales Planning Director Sammy Standefer said the city has seen a steady increase in growth yearly, based on the number of building permits issued by his department.
With the exception of the 2009-2010 fiscal year, which saw a large jump in the number of permits issued, growth in buildings has been slowly on the rise since 2002.
“We seem to stay pretty steady,” Standefer said.
He said the local economy sees subtle increases and decreases as a reflection of the changes the national economy is experiencing.
“It’s critical to our economy that we’re staying steady,” Standefer said.
In 2009-2010, Standefer’s department issued 57 building permits for new one family dwellings/townhouses, more than double the number issued in the 2008-2009, which was 23 permits.
Standefer attributes the jump growth at Cannon Air Force Base and Eastern New Mexico University. The valuation, which is the total amount of the permit fees based on the projected project costs, was a little over $12 million that year.
“It was just a big year,” Standefer said.
Standefer told city councilors Tuesday that the city is still seeing growth and issuing lots of permits.
“We’re building new houses right now at a good rate, but it’s not a record year,” Standefer said.
Another increase Standefer pointed out was a large number of residential roofing permits issued in the 2010-2011 year.
The planning department issued 125 residential roofing permits. The majority of those permits were related to the re-roofing of Cannon Meadows in Portales. The department issued 27 residential roofing permits last year.
Standefer said although the building of homes and other permits they issue are a good indicator of growth in Portales, he said it’s hard to tell if just by the permits they issue if the economy is truly growing.
New Roosevelt County Community Development Corporation Director Doug Redmond said the Portales’ population is projected to grow 1.8 percent each year.
Redmond did note that there was an increase in population in 2009 that reflected that jump in the number of building permits issued.
According to the U.S. Census, Portales’ population in 2009 was 14,992. In 2010, the population was 12,280. The population then increased in 2011 to 12,641.
Redmond is optimistic about continual population growth based on the real estate demand, he said.
“I think the area is going to continue to grow, certainly with what’s going on in Cannon,” Redmond said. “Housing is definitely needed.”