Much needed improvements to the city’s wastewater collection and treatment facility are being funded by grants and loans. The nearly $20 million project will take up to five years to complete and is funded by a grant from the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) and loans to the city. It will rehab the 50-year-old sewage treatment facility and various sewage lines in the city.

It is the largest of over $22 million projects the city has underway. Most of the costs come through government grants with additional funds from loans and the city’s own coffers.

“The gas department is now able to assure gas capacity to the city and tech,” Mayor Ravi Bhasker said in reviewing the projects.

Streets, a perennial concern, have several major projects scheduled. The nearly $4 million Bullock Street project was funded by the city and government grants over a two year period and will be repaved in 2021. The Western Skies Subdivision – Western, Mustang, Stallion – also are up for repaving as is Spring Street.

Airport improvements include a tractor and repaving the south ramp and other surfaces.

The city also procured funds for equipment including a vactor truck, a new street sweeper, and backhoes for the water and gas departments. A new ambulance was funded mostly through a grant with a $40,000 city match.

The city received $242,061 in CARES Act funds and another nearly $200,000 for small businesses through the CARES Act, of which nearly $75,000 remain.

The city is using a portion of its CARES funding to finance a broadband study for the city. The city needs to collect data about its current capacities to apply and obtain grants to pay for better broadband in the city. A questionnaire is available on the city’s website and the mayor is urging citizens to help by answering the questions. Better internet capability has been cited as a main reason Socorro is not growing.

Gwen Roath | Guest Writer