As we continue to navigate through the Pandemic, Angel Fire has done very well keeping the number of positive COVID cases extremely low and following the Public Health Orders and other CDC guidelines and best practices. Having just lived through the summer of no events or community activities, we are hopeful moving into the winter season that more restrictions will be relaxed by the governor so we can return to the life we came here for and schedule a few fun activities. Our businesses have complied with the state’s measures to ensure safety for their employees and customers and we will continue to follow the COVID Safe Practices as we work toward once again being fully open. Please continue to respect one another, wear a mask in public, physical distance and continue personal hygiene practices.
Meanwhile at the Village we have been working on several projects. It’s hard to get the word out since we cannot have meetings in person, so I wanted to tell you what is happening, and to dispel rumors.
One of the projects that is totally obvious, are the curbs, gutters and sidewalks being poured on Mountain View Blvd. They will run from Zeb’s Restaurant & Bar to Frontier Plaza on the west side and from Angel Fire Resort Property Management building to The Bakery & Cafe at Angel Fire on the east side. This is a joint project with NMDOT and Federal funding. The State plans to come in following completion of this project to mill and resurface along Mountain View Blvd. Additionally, the work down Hall Pines Terrace has begun. The project includes curbs, gutters, sidewalks and paving from the Mountain View Blvd intersection down past the police station. This project, that had been scheduled to be substantially complete by August 8th, was delayed from the beginning due to the work along Vail Avenue not meeting a completion of Oct 2019. The reasons for the delays are numerous but have had a major ripple effect on other work, especially the Halo Pines Terrace road project. In order to keep this project moving along, and not have the winter road problems similar to what we experienced on Vail Ave, it has been necessary to temporarily restrict traffic to essential traffic only. Essential traffic being only the residents and guest of residents along Halo Pines Terrace, police, courts and MVD essential business and emergency vehicle operations. This prevents the contamination of the materials being laid by reducing the likelihood of native soil, mud and organics from getting into the base course and undermining the integrity of the surface from below. It also allows the contractor to do a continuous pour of the driveway aprons and the necessary cure times without traffic to ensure they too are built to hold up under years of traffic. The work has also prompted the temporary closure and relocation of the Recycle/Trash Center. The closure and relocation will last until the contractor assures us that the additional traffic, to include the heavy equipment can operate on the surfaces without damaging or compromising the work. The closure was originally scheduled to begin on Friday, August 27th, following meetings held the day prior and under the assumption that work would continue through the weekend. When work was not scheduled over the weekend, the Streets and Solid Waste Departments quickly re-opened the facility on Friday evening. The dumpsters and cardboard recycle trailers were then relocated to the former Recycle Park late Sunday afternoon for public access.
Upon completion of the Halo Pines Terrace project, we embark on the work to remodel and improve the Recycle Park/Trash Center on Halo Pines Terrace. The Village recently submitted and received RAID (Recycling And Illegal Dumping) grant funding to improve and upgrade the Recycle Park/Trash Center. Along with Village matching and additional funds, the project will include removal of the old lumber storage sheds, additional hardtop paving of the entire area, complete fencing, gating and security to include lighting and cameras for the facility. We are working on the plans for the entire facility that will also include manning the facility during operational hours on a 7 day a week basis. The Village and Solid Waste department must combat the illegal dumping to include theft of services that has cost the Village tens of thousands of dollars each year over the last decade with little to no effort to enforce or make changes. Non-paying customers from both inside and outside the Village utilizing the services, illegal dumping of construction materials, demolition debris, appliances, mattresses, hazards liquids and materials that the Village is charged a premium for disposal; all have been illegally dumped in our open facility and in dumpsters across the Village. So instead of simply raising the fees for our paying customers, it’s time we take actions to prevent and mitigate the illegal activity. We have been researching other communities throughout the nation and the steps, policies and practices they utilize, such as customer identification, pre-paid vouchers, punch card and bag systems, pre-paid compostable bags for yard waste (needles, leaves, pinecones, etc.), setting up accounts for customers outside the Village limits, extended hours of manned operations and assistance to all customers utilizing the facility. This is an exciting project that will not only be more ascetically pleasing to those who must pass by on a daily basis but will help clean up the Village, combat illegal dumping, improve the efficiency of the department and seek more recycling opportunities. Much more information is to come as the project moves forward and we will be providing many opportunities for additional input and feedback.
Wait there is more.
We have recently purchased Fire Station #1, so look for improvements to be forthcoming. Village Manager Mitchell and I have been working with the county and state regarding recent studies of the area to improve availability of affordable housing for first time home owners, availability of longer term rentals and work-force housing solutions. This includes the research of sources for possible funding to help build affordable housing for Angel Fire. (We will also need private investors to make it a reality.) This isn’t low income housing, it will be affordable housing. Over 3/4 of our workforce do not live in Angel Fire due to lack of affordable housing, and even then, there is an insufficient number of available properties to grow and sustain an increasing workforce demand, this we would like to change.
We have begun planning and work on replacing the old and non-repairable playground equipment at the Community Center and other unaddressed safety issues (stairs, walkways, retaining walls and landscaping) so children and families will be safe to play.
We recently completed repairs and replacement of several components to the Village’s primary water well. The work not only brought the primary well back on line but will also result in reduced power utilization with the new high efficiency pump and motor. The Village received much less State funding for the needed water tank replacements, repairs and refurbishment. The funding we did receive is being put to work on our most dire tanks with new internal coatings to extend their usage lifetimes and stem the leakages. The newest GO Bond funding will also allow us to move forward on much needed waterline replacements on lines subject to well over 30 years or deterioration, breakage, leaking and lines that are not up to codes and standards for fire suppression and emergency requirements.
Planning is also underway for wastewater (sewer) line extensions that were promised over 25 years ago. The wastewater plant was built for far more effluent water processing than the current infrastructure supports. While we have water lines currently serving nearly 3,000 customers and lines available to serve an additional 4,700 properties we only have less than 650 wastewater connections and the lines in-place to serve less than 400 additional undeveloped properties. This has resulted in an exceptional burden on existing customers to meet the cost of operations that are currently inefficient for the size of the plant and number of customers. We must get the extensions of this area of our infrastructure planned and completed to not only increase the efficiency but also meet the growing environmental concerns centered on the septic systems operating in the Village.
Storm drainage and run-off continues to be a major, under-addressed issue throughout the Village, be it off the Village roads, public and private properties and driveway encroachments. The lack of necessary drainage planning, construction and enforcement of current codes has resulted in increased road surface deterioration, erosion and damage to both public and private property. Addressing this issue will also be a priority in both future funded projects, both GO Bond and other grant/programed funds.
Thank you for your cooperation, inputs and patience during these projects.
I apologize that the Stay At Home Order has put a crimp in our ability to have community meetings. At the first of the year, we had scheduled a monthly “Coffee with the Mayor”, for casual conversation, listening to your concerns and getting to know one another. When the limits on mass gatherings and meetings are relaxed, this will be foremost on the agenda. Meanwhile, feel free to email me at email@example.com with your questions or concerns or if you have heard something I said, to ask me if I really said it. If I cannot answer your questions, I will do my best to point you in the right direction to those who can.
And please join us for Village Council meetings every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at 5:30pm. For the time being we use a Go To Webinar format. The agenda is posted on the Village website, on the Village Facebook page and in this eBlast. On the Village website the agenda is accompanied with a packet of supporting documents to explain the agenda items. There is also instructions on how to register for the meetings. We encourage and welcome your input at the meetings. We open the mikes for those who wish to speak and only ask that, if possible, you use no longer than 3 minutes.
I really appreciate our community, the true care we show for one another. I know everyone is a little stir crazy and anxious, I am too. We are five months into a period of greatly reduced personal freedoms, stay at home orders, and reduced business operations with little or no stress relief. I am certain if we continue to pull together, we will make it through this and further challenges and be able to say with confidence, hindsight’s 2020!
Mayor of the Village of Angel Fire
Please RSVP today to join the Chamber Membership Meeting, we have a great presentation on The Road to Recovery; New Mexico the Hole in the Donut State. Also we want to add your name(s) to the free breakfast count and send you the ZOOM invitation!