Curry County Commissioners listened Thursday when they were presented with a plan for cleaning up PFAs contaminated water from land near Cannon Air Force Base.
By the end of the day they had a letter drafted in support of the plan.
The story emerged during the public comment section of the commission’s regular meeting, one in which dairyman Art Schaap, a man who’s dairy operation was destroyed by the contamination leaching into his groundwater, expressed frustration over very little having been done about the situation.
Schaap was joined by former Clovis mayor Gayla Brumfield who explained that she and Schaap are part of a group that has met with the area water company, EPCOR along with the state Finance Authority and the state Environment Department with a plan to clean up the contaminated water of Schaap’s Highland Dairy and use the estimated 2,500 gallons per minute the operation would yield to put into the Clovis water system.
“It’s a win-win situation for all,” Brumfield said after the meeting.
To obtain financing the group hopes to tap into a portion of the $63 million in federal money destined for New Mexico for cleaning up contaminated water, old infrastructure piping and such.
The letter of support reads: “At this time, remediation investigation by the Federal Government, though ongoing, is falling short of addressing the community’s need for actual remediation as the plume continues to move and threaten our community and our way of life. Our community cannot sit back and wait while the issue continues to be studied on a federal level. We must take every and all action necessary to protect our constituents and the good people of New Mexico.”
“With that in mind, it is the unanimous request of the Curry County Commission that the New Mexico State Legislature immediately take up the issue of PFAs remediation so that local governments can address the matter in a pro-active manner. We know it can be done. Recently, the State of Arizona appropriated $25 million to the City of Tucson to improve a water treatment plant’s ability to remove PFAS from contaminated groundwater. Although the technology for this effort is not yet known, the appropriation is an invaluable first step in local efforts to combat ongoing contamination in that area. “
In other business, commissioners appointed a new chairman and new vice-chair.
The meeting represented the first meeting for newly elected commissioners Fidel Madrid from District 1, Bradley Bender from District 2 and Dusty Leatherwood from District 3.
Madrid and Bender motioned for District 5 commissioner Robert Thornton to chair the board. The vote to approve was unanimous for Thornton who was first elected to the Curry County Commission in 2016.
District 4 commissioner Seth Martin was voted unanimously as the commission’s vice-chair.
Clovis Mayor Mike Morris appeared during the open comments section of the meeting welcoming the new commissioners and expressing a willingness for the city of Clovis to work with Curry County on projects.
Colton Treharn of SDV Construction gave updates on the Curry County Courthouse renovations and construction of the county extension building at the fairgrounds.
Treharn said the Courthouse renovations are on schedule and the metal exterior for the extension building will be going up in February.
Events Center General Manager K. C. Messick gave his report on the workings at the fairgrounds.
Messick reported “open ride night,” where people can pay to come into the events center after hours and ride their horses, is a success.
State law requires every odd numbered year counties are to have a hearing on whether or not the county will allow a low-income property tax rebate.
The rebate ranges from 75% for people who make less than $8,000 a year to 35% for people who make less than $24,000 a year.
County Manager Lance Pyle said as no one appeared during the hearing regarding the matter, commissioners did not implement the law.
As the session was wrapping up and commissioners were discussing future agenda items, Leatherwood expressed interest that the commissioners consider an ordinance like Clovis and Roosevelt County have on abortion.