A financial plan for fiscal year 2022-23 that values the remaining construction of the Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority’s Lake Ute water project at nearly $750 million was approved by the board of directors on Thursday. authority of public services.
After a workshop in March, council chairman Mike Morris, who is also the mayor of Clovis, said council had learned that the cost estimate for the project was higher than expected at the time, but that the cost total, including interest on the loan, would be reduced, so Morris said, “We’ve broken even.”
After the workshop, Morris said, ENMWUA officials learned that the local 10% portion of project costs is eligible for low-interest loans from the State’s Revolving Loan Fund. New Mexico Drinking Water through the State Department of the Environment and the New Mexico Financial Authority, which reduces interest rate to 1%.
At Thursday’s meeting, Eric Harrington, water board financial adviser at RBC Capital, said that with interest and other fees added, the total cost to be covered would be about $814 million.
The federal government’s 75% share of this cost is approximately $610 million, the state’s total 15% share is nearly $122 million, and the 10% local share is approximately $81 million, Harrington said.
On Thursday, the water board also voted unanimously to allow board staff to apply for the clean water fund grant.
Morris said if the grant is accepted, the cost savings will be passed on to authority members including Clovis, Portales, Texico and Elida.
Clovis’ current share of the local cost is 76.3%, Portales’ is 21.8%, Texico’s is 1.5% and Elida’s is 0.3%.
Morris said that under the plan, local contributions will need to increase by around 14% per year from 2023 to ensure local obligations are met, at least until 2031, when the project is expected to become operational.
After that, Herrigan noted Thursday, the amount of payments from federal, state and local contributors are expected to decrease as they are offset by revenue from the sale of water.
In another action on Thursday:
* The council approved the ENMWUA vehicle usage policies for staff and council members, as well as the authority’s internal financial policies.
* John Ryan, the authority’s federal lobbyist, said he was told the commission should seek more federal funds after the authority received $170 million in federal infrastructure funds. There is more available, Ryan said, and he is working with the offices of U.S. Representative for New Mexico’s Third District Teresa Leger Fernandez and U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich to seek additional funding.