Friday, October 16, 2009

Capital Projects in the Parks

Tierra de Suenos neighborhood park received some recent upgrades thanks to City crews in October. The park now has a basketball court and new landscaping. In addition, a pathway was paved from the road to the playground, pavilion, and basketball court, to allow access for all patrons. I would like to thank to all the City crews who put in time on this project: the water shop ran the reclaimed system piping for irrigation; the streets division laid asphalt for the paved trail; and the parks division added the basketball paving and hoop, and new landscaping. It was a great team effort.

This summer a new picnic area was established in a pocket park on the north side of Panorama Blvd. This project is also due to the work of the parks and the streets divisions.

Balloon Fiesta Park planning is now complete and the construction phase is beginning. The area at LaVelle Road has been cleared. This will become a 20-acre park, available to residents year-round, and the home base for our annual balloon fiesta starting next September. The construction phase will include irrigation piping, balloon launch pads, access roads and parking, utility installation to provide potable water and electricity for vendors, and a runway for remote control planes. Grass seed should be planted next spring, and the field will be irrigated with our reclaimed water system. The park will also feature a multi-use trail around the perimeter.

Friday, October 2, 2009

City of Alamogordo Budget Message for Fiscal Year 2009/2010

The fiscal year 2010 Budget was developed during one of the most challenging economic times in the history of the United States. The downturn in the national economy affected our key source of revenue, the Gross Receipts Tax. The Gross Receipts Tax is economically sensitive, which means it historically declines when the economy is in a downturn. Last fiscal year we had a substantial decline on our collections of Gross Receipt Tax of approximately $756,000, compared to the prior year (FY08). For the current fiscal year (2010), we projected a zero percent (0%) growth over the prior year collections. In addition, property tax is expected to be stagnant, with no increase in growth due to flat valuations and a projected decrease in new construction due to the restrictive credit market.

The long term water needs of the community continue to be a major focus of the City of Alamogordo. Staff has been working very hard to improve well production by updating equipment and re-drilling several existing wells. In addition, improvements were made to the mountain surface flow collection system in the Lower, Middle, and Upper Fresnal to improve capacity. Repairs were made to the covers at the La Luz Reservoirs that were damaged by the remnants of Hurricane Dolly. The New Mexico Court of Appeals determination of the District Court ruling on the water rights allocation at the new well field north of town (also known as Snake tank) and the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) are scheduled to be completed this fiscal year. The short term prognosis for water this year is good, the forecast is for a wet winter, the reservoirs are full, the well fields are rested, and as discussed, improvements to existing wells have been completed.

The largest capital project in the history of the City of Alamogordo is taking place this fiscal year. A total of thirteen (13) streets are being reconstructed. The street reconstruction includes water and sewer line replacement as well as ADA improvements. These major capital projects are funded by the 2004 ¼% and 2008 ¼% Gross Receipts Tax dedicated for street maintenance and street capital improvements.

The recommended budget represents reductions in expenses; staff reductions, service cutbacks, operating capital reductions and the reorganization of functions within departments. City employees and departments are called upon to do more with less. The recommended budget has placed a freeze on sixteen (16) full time positions, and seven (7) part-time positions, for a total savings of $688,096.

The City Commission and City Staff will continue to plan and work as efficiently as possible to continue to provide the quality programs and services the citizens of Alamogordo currently enjoy.

Respectively Submitted:

Matt Mc Neile, Interim City Manager