This will be the first in a series of articles designed to increase communication between the Village of Angel Fire and our constituents throughout the Valley.
When I was elected Mayor of Angel Fire in 2012, the Village faced some major challenges. Our finances were a mess. We had over $18 million in debt; we struggled to make payroll; we had over a million dollars in past due accounts payable; and we had no reserves. Most importantly, our audits were years behind, making the Village ineligible for most New Mexico state loans and grants. Our infrastructure was suffering from deferred maintenance. Specifically, the chip-sealed roads had amassed a world-class collection of potholes. The wastewater treatment plant was limping along, under-utilized and significant upgrades were needed to stay in compliance with the EPA. Our water system was leaky with pipes approaching the end of their useful lives.
The Council and I agreed that we needed to get our financial house in order before attacking these other problems. We cut spending, froze wages, and began paying off outstanding accounts payable and long-term debt. We made audits a priority. On December 15, 2015, we submitted our 2015 audit to the state, the first one turned in on time in at least twelve years. We were immediately rewarded with a state sponsored grant/loan package to help upgrade the wastewater plant. We intend to aggressively pursue more of these awards, but the reality is that competition for these monies is fierce.
The Village is now in a good position to move forward. As of June 30, 2016, we have paid off all the overdue accounts payable that we had some four-and-a-half years ago and are current on all A/P accounts now. We paid off seven loans, including the mortgage on Village Hall, and reduced our long-term debt to $12 million. We have begun a plan to pay off all current debt within 10-11 years. We have almost $300K in reserves and two pay-periods worth of cash at all times.
In my next article, I will outline the reasons the Council and I, along with the Village staff, feel it is the right time to propose a bond issue to the electorate to initiate a program to rebuild our aging infrastructure.
Thank you for your support.
Barbara Cottam, Mayor, Village of Angel Fire
2nd Forum: Wednesday August 10th, 2016 at 5:30 pm at the Angel Fire Community Center Rotunda
3rd Forum: Monday August 29th, 2016 at 5:30 pm at Angel Fire Village Hall
These Forums are open to the public and everyone is encouraged to attend.
The vote will be a mail out ballot. It will be mailed out on August 29, 2016. You may mail your ballot back to Terry Cordova or return it on September 13, 2016 between the hours of 7:00 am and 7:00 pm.