Magdalena Village Hall.

A little-used utility aid fund in the Village of Magdalena is coming to an end, but the remaining money will be used to support the village’s Secret Santa program.

The village’s utility aid fund has been eliminated. The fund was designed to collect donations from utility bill payers to assist people who applied for aid with their utility expenses. However, the program was eliminated when the village board updated its utilities ordinance because public money being used to pay someone’s bill is a violation of New Mexico’s anti-donation clause.

At their most recent meeting, the Village board decided to move the remaining funds, approximately $1,200, into the village’s secret Santa program. The secret Santa program is at least a decade old, said Mayor Richard Rumpf, and provides 24 food baskets for needy families and presents for 35 kids. The board could have dispersed the money into various utility accounts, but board members agreed the $1,200 would make little impact in those funds and would have a greater impact on the secret Santa program.

The Village of Magdalena may also get significant improvements to its airport. The village is applying for federal funding from the Department of Transportation aviation division for a helicopter parking pad and for paving the road and runway. At present the road is dirt and the runway is gravel.

In other village business:

-The board approved a local government road fund cooperative agreement with the New Mexico Department of Transportation to repair potholes and chip seal Chestnut, Elm, Spruce, Main, and Kelly. The estimated cost of the project is $60,000, of which the village would be responsible for $15,000, or 25 percent of the cost.

-The Magdalena marshal’s office will be working with the county to do DWI prevention over the summer. The county has between $2,000 and $3,000 in grant funding to put towards overtime for additional prevention of drinking and driving and underage drinking, said Athena Gassoumis with the county’s DWI Program.

-The village will spend $11,882 to pay Elliot Bros.’ Drilling to drill a new sampling well for the lagoon system. The village is required by state law to have three sampling wells. One of the existing wells has mud on the bottom and can no longer be used for testing.

-The village will have an Independence Day parade on July 3, at 10 a.m.

The next Village Board meeting will be on June 28.

Cathy Cook, El Defensor Chieftain