Friday, December 12, 2008

The Status of the New Gross Receipts Tax for Street Projects

The City has an on-going street maintenance program which is funded by a 2004 gross receipts tax. The money collected from this portion of our community’s tax pays for construction, reconstruction or improvements of municipal streets, alleys or bridges. For instance, this can include projects such as crack sealing and slurry sealing. Each year approximately $1.5 million from this fund is spent on street improvements. Most recently Alaska, 16th, and 23rd Streets were repaved. In addition, in March of 2008 the voters approved an additional ¼ of one percent tax (or 0.25%) to our City’s gross receipt tax rate for new street projects. This tax went into effect on July 1st of this year. The tax is received by the City two months in arrears; therefore the first collection of this tax was received in September. Last month, over $116,000 was collected for just this streets capital outlay portion of the gross receipts tax. The City has pledged this tax revenue source to obtain a low-interest loan to fund high cost multiple street projects at once. This means that projects can start sooner and that we can get more done with the same amount of money. The following projects were identified as the initial priorities from this fund: Cornell, 18th, Indiana, New York, 12th, Bellamah, College, 15th, Delaware, Maryland, Florida, Plainview, and Hamilton, for a total cost of over $14.5 million. This will include required ADA upgrades that will accompany each project. Initially the City will be working on half of these street projects. The current loan is for $7.3 million. The other half will be borrowed after the first set of projects is nearing completion. Almost always, repaving is preceded by water and/ or sewer line work. It is more cost effective to replace the water/sewer lines that are in need of replacement before paving occurs. These items also cost a significant amount and are not funded by the same gross receipts tax. The funds must come from other sources. Engineering work is required for the streets that need water/sewer line repair first, and this preliminary work has already begun. We know that street improvements are of the utmost importance to the citizens of Alamogordo. The low-interest loan for the street work has just been approved by the funding agency and accepted by the City Commission. It will take some time to get the work contracted and scheduled. We will keep you updated as to what street project is beginning and when. Remember that the water line and ADA work will happen first, before you see any of these streets being repaved. Thank you for your support of these Public Works projects.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Go Bond Election

DFA sets the Debt Service Rates based on the outstanding G.O. Bond Debt Issues. DFA considers the Fund Balance and annual debt service to be made in the following year and bases the tax rate on that. Since the 1996 G.O. Bond matures with a final payment on 06/01/2009 – the tax rate was lowered. Although we have considered issuing a new debt to take the place of the old debt, this must be decided by holding an election. In order for DFA to consider a new issue, the election must be held that passes a new debt service for a general obligation debt. An election to consider a new debt issue could be held in March of 2009. Although the Debt Service Tax Rate was changed by DFA from 0.2261 percent to 0.1724 percent based on the Fund Balance, RBC Capital Markets has informed the City that $10 million dollars can be raised utilizing the lower Debt Service Tax Rate of 0.1724 percent by making a larger principal payment against the debt in the later years of the issue. RBC Capital Markets has also indicated that the City can raise $15 million dollars by utilizing the original Debt Service Tax Rate of 0.2261 percent. The difference in the property tax payment on a residential property valued at $150,000 at a Debt Service Tax Rate of 0.2261 percent which would raise $15 million compared to a Debt Service Tax Rate of 0.1724 percent which would raise $10 million is $26.85 per year. There are a number of projects that can be completed by using the money generated by the General Obligation Bond if the citizens vote to enact the issue. The list of potential projects was developed from needs identified in the City of Alamogordo Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan (ICIP 2009 – 2013), public input during the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) meetings, City of Alamogordo Community Services Department Five Year Park and Open Space Comprehensive Master Plan (2008-2012), and input from the Alamogordo City Commission. Staff has not prioritized the list of potential projects as they have all been identified as a need in the community.

Library Project
$ 3,500,000.00
Oregon Tennis Court Rebuild
$ 500,000.00
Youth Football Field Improvements
$ 200,000.00
Neighborhood Park Development
$ 150,000.00
Alameda Park Zoo Entrance Building
$ 300,000.00
Fire Station # 8 Construction
$ 900,000.00

Senior Center Therapy Pool
$ 500,000.00
Solar Heating Panels for the Rec Center Pool
$ 150,000.00
Washington Park Spray Park or Sprayground
$ 1,000,000.00
Parking Lot Paving at Kids Kingdom and the AFRC
$ 85,000.00
City Entryway Streetscape Beautification
$ 100,000.00
Skateboard Park Resurface and Halfpipe Addition
$ 100,000.00
Trail System Construction
$ 75,000.00
150' Flag Pole and 60' x 30' Flag at City Hall
$ 50,000.00
$ 7,610,000.00

Street Projects

Pecan Drive
$ 170,000.00
Ninth Street Bridge Rebuild
$ 150,000.00
First Street (White Sands to Relief Route)
$ 500,000.00

$ 820,000.00

Wastewater Treatment Plant Engineering & Design
$ 1,500,000.00
$ 1,500,000.00

Hooser Park Detention Pond Expansion
$ 70,000.00
$ 70,000.00

All Project Total
$ 10,000,000.00

Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion
$ 5,000,000.00
$ 5,000,000.00

All Project Total + Additional Bonding
$ 15,000,000.00

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Alamogordo Regional Water Supply Project

What is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)?

An Environmental Impact Statement is an analysis of the ways that a proposed project might impact environmental and socioeconomic resources. In general, when a project will take place on federal land or be paid for with federal funds, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) requires that an EIS be prepared as the basis for determining whether the project should be undertaken. NEPA is the nation’s broadest environmental law. It applies to all federal agencies and most of the activities they manage, regulate, or fund that affect the human environment. An EIS also analyzes the potential effects of any proposed alternatives to a project, including the No Action alternative, that is, not doing anything at all.

Why is an EIS required for the Alamogordo Regional Water Supply Project?

While the City of Alamogordo is the sponsor of the proposed Project, the Project proposes to develop and operate 10 wells on land under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approximately 10 miles north of Tularosa, New Mexico, to run water transmission lines within BLM right-of-way from the wells to a water treatment facility, and to use funds provided by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) for part of the Project's cost. NEPA requires that the BLM and Reclamation base their decisions about whether to grant right-of-way permission and allocate funds for the Project on the results of an assessment of environmental impacts. The BLM and Reclamation have determined that an EIS must be prepared to comply with all aspects of NEPA, since the proposed Project could have significant environmental impacts within the project area.

EIS Project Management Team

City of Alamogordo ...............Sponsor of the Project
BLM ........................................Federal Lead Agency for the Project

The BLM and the City have contracted with SWCA Environmental Consultants of Albuquerque to assist with the preparation of the required EIS.

The purpose of this EIS is to:

  • Evaluate the potential for environmental and socioeconomic impacts that could result from the Project .
  • Compare and analyze Project alternatives, including the consequences of not developing the Project.
  • Provide the BLM with information for making their decisions.
  • Track and document the process used to reach those decisions.
  • Provide the public with all of this information.

To meet the purpose and need of the Project, this EIS will also identify:

  • Location(s) of wells that would supply water for the Project and would be permittable at the federal, state, and local levels.
  • Location(s) of water transmission lines from the wells to a treatment facility.
  • Location of a treatment facility.
  • Water treatment methods .
  • Method(s) for managing concentrate generated from the water treatment process.
  • Location(s) of water transmission line(s) from the treatment facility to the Alamogordo region customers.

What decisions will result from the EIS?

Based on the results of the impact analyses in the EIS, the BLM will decide whether to grant the City right-of-way across BLM land for Project for pipelines and wells, and Reclamation will decide whether to provide partial funding the Project. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) encourages public involvement as a way to help federal agencies make good decisions about drinking water projects. Our project team believes that a successful Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) incorporates a broad range of public viewpoints.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Flood Control Project Update

The Army Corps of Engineers Flood Control Project is in Phase Four (4) of Six (6) towards the completion of the South Channel. Phase Four is nearing completion. The contractors are currently constructing the large Catch Basin at the mouth of Marble Canyon. I recently visited the site with Maureen Schmittle, Communication and Grants Coordinator who took these photos of the construction. The bottom photo shows the flood control channel looking northeast towards Marble Canyon. A bridge was constructed to allow hikers access to the Goat Springs Trail from Desert Foothills Park. Notice the ten (10) foot wide access trail on the side of the channel. Once complete, you will be able to hike or bike from Desert Foothills Park all the way to the future regional park that is being planned for development in the brownfield area (old city landfill) that is west of White Sands Blvd. and east of Lavelle Road.

The top photo is the catch basin that is being constructed at the mouth of Marble Canyon. Phases Five (5) and Six (6) will be constructed in the Mc Kinley Channel which runs north of Walmart and continues northeast adjacent to Mc Kinley Avenue and Thunder Road. The cost of the project is $51 million dollars. The City's match is 20% or 10.2 million dollars.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Time for Gus Macker and Saturday in the Park honoring Armed Forces Day!

The City of Alamogordo wishes to thank and to honor all the military troops who protect this nation and our freedom. Armed Forces Day is Saturday May 17th.
Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of Armed Forces Day on August 31, 1949. President Truman issued a presidential proclamation for the holiday on February 20, 1950. The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated May 20, 1950. The theme was "Teamed for Defense."
To celebrate Armed Forces Day, the City will hold the 32nd Annual Saturday in the Park, May 17th & 18th; Saturday 8am-6pm; Sunday 8am-3pm. We will have food, crafts, information booths, and Military displays. Local entertainment will be provided by Round Sound Records.
Gus Macker 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament
By Cynthia Pierpoint, Special Events Coordinator
The City of Alamogordo will be hosting the Annual Gus Macker 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament in conjunction with Saturday in the Park, our Armed Forces Day Celebration honoring local military members and Department of Defense civilians who have deployed this year. This year’s events will be held on 17 and 18 May 2008 with the opening ceremony at 8:00 am at Washington Park.
The original "Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament" was started in 1974 by Scott McNeal, (alias Gus Macker), on his parents’ driveway basketball court in Lowell, Michigan. It started with eighteen friends playing competitively for $18.00. The tournament continued to grow and in 1987, took to the road because of tremendous demand. Since 1987, the Macker tour has expanded, holding 972 tournaments with over 2.2 million players, male and female from 7 years old to 50+, and more than 23 million spectators enjoying family fun.
The Armed Forces Day Celebration, also being held at Washington Park will pay tribute to our local Holloman AFB, German Air Force, National Guardsmen, and civilian warriors who deployed this year. Over the course of this year approximately 1,300 of our military community were deployed in harm’s way, for anywhere from 3 to 12 months, and to many different locations. For more information on how you can be a part of this event call 439-4142.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Why is the Familty Recreation Center Swimming Pool Temperature Set at 84 Degrees?

Q: Why is the temperature of the Family Recreation Center Swimming Pool set at 84 degrees? Isn’t that too warm for recreational and competative swimming?

A: Several years ago there was a debate between competing pool user groups as to what is the most desirable pool temperature for their respective activities. One group consisted of recreational and competitive lap swimmers that wanted the pool temperature to be 82 degrees while the other group was represented by aqua-size class members and therapy pool enthusiasts that wanted the pool temperature to be 86 degrees or warmer.

The City of Alamogordo facilitated several public meetings to allow each group the opportunity to present facts that support their positions concerning the temperature of the swimming pool. After hearing testimony and deliberating the evidence, the Community Services Advisory Board made a recommendation to the City Commission to set the temperature of the swimming pool at 84 degrees. The City Commission accepted the recommendation.
The temperature of the pool is lowered to 82 degrees when Alamogordo High School hosts competitive swim meets. Here is an interesting fact regarding the bubble environment that encloses the swimming pool. The ambient or air temperature inside the bubble must be equal too or slightly above the water temperature of the pool. If the ambient temperature of the bubble falls below the water temperature, condensation will occur inside the bubble environment, and it will actually rain!
If you would like to submit a question to be considered for "Question of the Week," please click on the feedback form on the City of Alamogordo Web Site and write Question of the Week in the subject line. The selected question will be posted on our website, and the author will be sent a City of Alamogordo lapel pin. Thank you!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Surfing Into Summer Job Fair and Youth Program Information

Join us for the Surfing into Summer event at the Sgt. Willie Estrada Memorial Civic Center on Tuesday March 11, 2008 from 3-6pm. This event will include: a pet adoption event, early sign-up for youth summer programs, a special visitor from the Alameda Zoo, and instant interviews for City seasonal employment applicants. This program is brought to you by the City's Community Services Department and the Personnel/ Safety Department. Free admission and free snacks. Lots of fun!

For information on interviews call 439-4399. For information on youth programs call 439-4142.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New Trails Afoot

Alamogordo’s multi-purpose trail system is expanding. Community Services staff in the Parks Division recently began work on the newest section of trails which wind throughout City green spaces. The current section in progress is detailed to extend from 10th Street north to 14th Street along Washington Avenue. Parks crews are performing the preliminary grading in preparation for gravel base course and then a layer of asphalt. This section of the trail will be completed by March 31st. This is another outstanding facility brought to you by the City of Alamogordo Community Services Department and made possible by an annual budget dedicated specifically to the development of this multi-purpose trail system. When extended to Indian Wells, this one mile section will represent the final phase of the trail which links 1st Street to Indian Wells Road, between Washington and Oregon Avenues, and then Indian Wells Road all the way to White Sands Boulevard. The City would like you to join us in welcoming Erik Marion, Parks Supervisor, who is overseeing this project. He recently moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma were he worked for Tulsa Public Schools.

Alamogordo’s trail system will eventually be completely looped, and most major City services will be accessible by this pleasant and safe pedestrian path. These trails are all wheelchair accessible. Residents are invited to wheel, walk, bike, skate-board, rollerblade, or scooter along the existing 5.21 miles of City trails which are already completed or the additional 4.88 miles of trails which were provided to citizens in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers Flood Control Project. The next phase of that Federal project will add an additional 2 miles of trail from the detention pond at Mountain View Middle School to the Desert Foothills Park.