Commission holds public hearing for new sewer pumps in Mexican Hat

An application to the Community Impact Board (CIB) will be put together for funding for two new sewer pumps for the community of Mexican Hat. The estimated cost for the new sewer pumps is $255,000, all of which is being sought in grant form from CIB.
A public hearing was held on the matter in order to discuss the application to CIB for the new sewer pumps and receive public comment, along with hold discussion of detailed specifications within project.
“The project need was identified by Danny Fleming, System Operator and other concerned members of the community,” SSD Board member Danny “Scoot” Flannery said. “Together with J&DE, the Mexican Hat SSD is working to procure funds to replace the aging and deteriorating lift stations to avoid system failure and to keep the residences and businesses in the community fully operational.”
The Mexican Hat sewer system was dillapitated to the point of not functioning. The discharge pumps off the pipes had eroded completely and the sewer pumps were merely just circulating.
While repairs were being made, the pits were drained all the way down and it was noticed the tanks themselves were eroding. After the erosion at the first station was discovered, a check was performed on a second lift station. It was discovered the same erosion was occurring at both stations.
“So basically we need to replace both of those,” Danny Fleming, the systems operator said. “We got a pretty good price on it I think.
“I thought it was going to cost a lot more than the prices they had on it. I felt pretty good about it. We’ve got to take care of that or it is going to go in the river and we don’t want that situation.”
A grant is being sought from the CIB for the new sewer units because it was said that the community of roughly 20 cannot afford a loan from the CIB and that it is being sought on emergency status.
The communities average gross household income was said to be around $19,000 a year, the state average was estimated at $39,000 (lower income average). This qualifies the community for an emergency grant, according to Fleming, who will present the project before the CIB.
No public comment was made by any member of the public and the commission made the motion to come out of the public hearing before making a motion to pursue the project with CIB. Rebecca Benally made the motion to pursue the project with CIB and commissioner Phil Lyman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
Earlier in the meeting, County Administrator Kelly Pehrson presented another CIB application project, this time for the Monticello Cemetery.
“The Monticello Cemetery District, they went to CIB a few months ago and got a 50/50 (half grant, half loan) match on a new building at the cemetery,” Pehrson said, estimating the total cost of the building at $360,000.
“They got a $180,000 grant and a $180,000 loan. Come to find out because property tax is really their only source of revenue, for them to get a bond on $180,000, it has to go on a ballot. At this point, the only chance they’ll have to put it on the ballot is in November of next year.”
Pehrson suggested that the county lend the cemetery district the $180,000. The benefit for the cemetery district is they will not have to bond for the loan with the county and will save the district nearly $10,000 in bonding costs.
“They will still have to go back before CIB and say, ‘instead of taking a loan, we just want a grant,’ and get the grant approved. In reality they would bring in $180,000 cash, which is our cash and ask for a grant.”
The county will still charge the district the same interest rate that CIB would have charged on the loan (2.5 percent).
“They were delighted with that,” Pehrson said, laying out the terms of the loan before the commission which will be $180,000 over 30 years at a 2.5 percent interest rate. The loan would be similar to what the commission did with the hospital on a loan for their MRI machine.
Commissioner Lyman made the motion to approve the loan with Benally quickly seconding, before being unanimously approved.
In other agenda items the commission granted a request from Southern Academy for $5,000 to finish their baseball facility. In return the academy is to host a free annual baseball camp for area youths in the spring and fall. The funds will help get netting over the fields so they can have outdoor batting practice.
In other action the commission authorized the reduction in their bi-weekly meetings from the first and third Tuesday of the month to only one meeting on the first Wednesday of each month.
The commission also approved the King Creek Subdivision as presented and the authorization of the purchase of four new county loaders. The county also turned the operations of the Bluff landfill over to the newly incorporated town.
The commission additionally discussed the upcoming appeal hearing in the court of appeals regarding redistricting in Denver on Nov. 14, making preliminary travel plans for county officials.
The next county commissioner regular business meeting will be held Nov. 6.

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