Socorro City Council Chambers and mayor’s office.

The publication of Ordinance 19-08-05 (amendment) for the loan agreement for the Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements and Improvements to the Wastewater Collection System was approved during the City Council meeting on Feb. 16.

Approving the publication of the ordinance does not include approving the ordinance itself.

According to Finance Director Ruby Lopez, the amendment is needed for an interim loan to pay for construction costs.

“This has all been approved through USDA,” she said. “We do need the interim loan to complete the project. Once the project is complete, then USDA funding will kick in. Once permits are done, once completion is done, then USDA will take over.”

The total amount of the loan is $3,265,500 and the original amount of the loan was for $2,750,000. Lopez said that $540,000 is included in the interim loan for cost overrun.

“The cost overrun, the bid came in at $2,700,000 and USDA allows an overrun in the bid of 20 percent,” said Donald Monette, City of Socorro Treasurer and Administrator. “What this does is allows us, the council to say, ‘we are allowing, approving, for you to go up to the $3.2 million for the cost overrun. Right now, we would be capped at the $3.2 million.”

During the meeting, Monette said the city is unable to apply for a loan through the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development unless they can prove that the loan can be paid back. The USDA looked at the City of Socorro’s finances, the consumption and the rates they are charging for the sewer and suggested increasing the rate.

Lopez said each residential customer’s base rate will be increasing $4 every year for the next four years.

For commercial customers, Lopez said that it depends on the rate code for the sewer for how much they will be paying.

“If we are looking at other commercials, we have different rate codes for each,” she said. “Those are very minimal. The ones who are paying the most are the motels because of the rate structure we have. Tech is per connection. They are charged $4 per connection. There are more residential users than there are commercial users.”

The council also approved Valerie Moore’s Water Rights Lease Amendment which was needed due to a -.10 decrease in acreage and a -.2104 decrease in cubic acre-feet. According to the agreement, Moore will be irrigating 3.606 acres of land and can “lease and demise… up to but not in excess of 7.5726 acre-feet of pre-1907 water rights.”

Moore will be responsible for paying a sum of $80 “per acre-foot of consumptive rights.” She will have to pay the City of Socorro an annual rental sum of $605.80 and a $500 processing fee for an initial payment of $1,105.80, which is due when the application is approved by the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer.

Dennis Engineering Company’s bid for On-Call Engineering Services was approved by the council as that was the only proposal the city received.

Berta A. Portillo’s home occupation permit was approved along with her business registration. She will be opening a massage therapy business and indicated on her application form that there will be no one working on the property besides those who reside there and that it will not increase traffic flow in her neighborhood.

The council accepted the resignation of Jim Dewey Brown as he was the Tourism Director and Events Manager. Brown resigned because he was named the General Manager for Prescott Frontier Days, Inc. and the World’s Oldest Rodeo.