COMMISSION’S FLOODING TASK FORCE SETS FORMAT, MEETING SCHEDULE

COMMISSION’S FLOODING TASK FORCE SETS FORMAT, MEETING SCHEDULE

On Tuesday, Sept. 26, the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners ordered staff to formulate a task force to evaluate drainage and flooding issues across Doña Ana County. The Commission set a deadline of Dec 12 for the task force to come back with findings and recommendations.

A core group of Doña Ana County directors has set up the structure by which the task force will gather community input, partner with critical stakeholders and coordinate the resulting report and recommendations.

For purpose of organizing data, the task force will look independently at northern, central and southern Doña Ana County to identify issues, concerns, timelines and expectations related to findings. Ad hoc committees will be formed in each of the three geographical areas, and each ad hoc committee will elect a representative to serve on the stakeholder task force.

Groups from communities in northern, central and southern Doña Ana County are encouraged to begin networking in advance of the first formal public meetings to identify areas of concern and to identify potential representatives to the county’s task force. Those who agree to be considered as community representatives should have adequate time to devote at least eight hours each week to meetings with the task-force membership and stakeholders. Representatives are strongly encouraged to have cell phones and regular access to e-mail.

In addition, a group of stakeholders has been identified and formally invited to bring professional evaluations and resources to the table. Stakeholders identified to date include Doña Ana County, the City of Las Cruces, the City of Sunland Park, the Town of Mesilla, the Village of Hatch, the International Boundary and Water Commission, the federal Bureau of Land Management, the New Mexico Departments of Transportation, Public Lands and Environment, Elephant Butte Irrigation District, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces Public Schools, Hatch Public Schools, Gadsden Independent School District and the Caballo and La Union Water Conservation Districts.

“The timeline for this task force to do its work is very short,” said Doña Ana County Public Works Director Jorge Granados. “With cooperation from the communities, commitments from the stakeholders and hard work on the part of those who serve on the central task force, we feel confident we can perform a thorough assessment of issues for consideration by the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners in December.”

A series of community meetings has been scheduled to solicit public input on the issues related to drainage and flooding in Doña Ana County. Each meeting will feature simultaneous English/Spanish translation services. All meeting times are 6:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted.

* Tuesday, Oct. 10, and Monday, Oct. 30, will be opportunities for residents of northern Doña Ana County to voice their concerns at the Rincon Community Center, 220 Baker St., Rincon.

* Wednesday, Oct. 11, and Tuesday, Nov. 1, will be opportunities for residents of central Doña Ana County to voice their concerns at the Doña Ana County Government Center Commission Chambers, 845 N. Motel Blvd., Las Cruces.

* Thursday, Oct. 12, and Wednesday, Nov. 2, will be opportunities for residents of southern Doña Ana County to voice their concerns at the Anthony Senior Center, 875 N. Main St., Anthony.

* Tuesday, Nov. 14, will be an opportunity for all residents of Doña Ana County to voice their concerns at the Doña Ana County Government Center Commission Chambers, 845 N. Motel Blvd., Las Cruces.

* 9 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 12, will be the regular meeting of the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners at which the findings and recommendations of the task force will be formally presented at the Doña Ana County Government Center Commission Chambers, 845 N. Motel Blvd., Las Cruces.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 525-5801.