BORDER COUNTIES COALITION ADOPTS DOÑA ANA COUNTY COLONIAS MODEL

BORDER COUNTIES COALITION ADOPTS DOÑA ANA COUNTY COLONIAS MODEL

WASHINGTON, D.C. - After a presentation by District 1 Doña Ana County Commissioner Oscar Vásquez-Butler, the U.S./Mexico Border Counties Coalition has passed a resolution adopting Doña Ana County’s Colonias Initiative as a multi-county model for colonias improvements.

Butler said the resolution - supported and adopted by all 24 U.S. counties that abut Mexico’s border - will leverage additional federal and state dollars to the border region, where improvements to substandard communities is “desperately needed.”

During his presentation, Butler praised Doña Ana County Health and Human Services Department Director Silvia Sierra and her staff for taking the Colonias Initiative in Doña Ana County from theory to reality.

“Silvia and her staff took the lead on this goal that I suggested to the Board of County Commissioners in 2003,” Butler said. “Working together, we built a coalition of state and federal lawmakers who helped us make meaningful progress in infrastructure development for these historically underserved and neglected communities.”

Since 2003, Doña Ana County - using more than $10 million in combined local, state and federal funding - has successfully upgraded roads, water systems, wastewater systems and health-care delivery systems in its 37 federally designated colonias. For 2006, the Board of County Commissioners has resolved to make improvements sufficient to remove at least two colonias from the federal listing altogether. In addition, since 2003, Doña Ana County employees have voluntarily conducted annual holiday toy drives for children living in the colonias.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229.