Thursday, May 13, 2010

County Commissioners Have Problems With Sun Zia Routes

By John Severance

SOCORRO – The county commissioners have big problems with some of the routes that the Sun Zia Transmission Project is thinking about.
“One of the proposed routes would go through Polvadera and anything that goes through our valley has to be under ground,” vice chair Daniel Monette said at a meeting Tuesday night.
Chair Rosie Tripp added, “What does Socorro County get out of this?”
She answered her own question when she said, “absolutely nothing.”
The Bureau of Land Management held a scoping meeting at the Socorro Fairgrounds on April 27 and a number of commissioners attended to check the proposed routes that Sun Zia is thinking about.
According to the Sun Zia website, the Southwest Area Transmission (SWAT) regional planning group has been reviewing potential interests and needs for additional transmission facilities from the New Mexico area to Arizona for the last few years. In the summer of 2006, SWAT hosted a workshop to review possible locations of future resources and possible delivery points as the regional loads continue to grow at an aggressive rate. The SWAT workshop nicknamed this effort “Project Zia”.
In response, the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project is evaluating the potential to develop a new regional electric transmission line between southern New Mexico and southern Arizona.
There are other proposed routes that go through Socorro County. And the commissioners were unanimous in their opposition.
“We have to require them to do a feasibility study to put these lines underground if they come through here,” Monette said. “Otherwise, it will be a hell of an eyesore.”
Commissioner R.J. Griego said, “I think they should use the route that goes east of White Sands Missile Range.”
County manager Delilah Walsh told the commissioners, “We need feedback from you so we can let Sun Zia know what we think about this. Maybe draft a resolution but its important you make yourselves be heard on this issue.”
After more conversation, Tripp finally said, “We are going to instruct Delilah to come up with a resolution at our next meeting.”
In other business:
• Mary Ann Chavez Lopez of the Socorro County Housing Authority said that the organization has received $29,387 in funding from HUD to protect the rental assistance provided to families participating in the Housing Choice Voucher Program.
• Steve Kopleman from the NMAC addressed the commissioners, urging them to stay in the insurance pool to help with the costs of Worker’s Comp Insurance.
• Walsh and Commissioners Philip Anaya and Tripp will meet with Judge Swayze about the county’s ankle bracelet program next week.
• The Commissioners directed staff to prepare a resolution that would consider a 20-year PERA (retirement) plan for the sheriff’s department. Sheriff Philip Montoya said the money already was in his budget that would be an additional $11,000. There also was talk for switching retirement programs for all county employees and Walsh said she could draw up a feasibility study if the commissioners wanted.

Neighborhood watch

The citizens of Veguita showed up in force at the area senior center to have an organizational meeting for a neighborhood watch Thursday, county commisioner Rumaldo Griego said.
With Sheriff Philip Montoya also in attendance, Griego said the people broke up into groups according to where they lived and elected block captains.
“It was a great turnout,” Griego said. “I was expecting 30 or 40 and we got 50. The most important thing I told them though is that you can’t sit down and you have to keep this moving in order to get something done.”

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