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TODD BAILEY/NEWS-SUN Juan Del Rio works a Bobcat on a construction site within The Meadows subdivision in north Hobbs. During its Monday meeting, the Hobbs City Commission approved an $80,000 subsidy for the construction of eight houses by Lemke Development, Inc.

The Hobbs City Commission continues to tackle the city’s housing issues by approving another round of incentives for two development companies.

During Monday’s meeting the commission — missing Mayor Sam Cobb and Commissioner Pat Taylor — unanimously approved 5-0 a resolution for the reimbursement incentive of $80,000 for eight homes to be built by Lemke Development, Inc., as part of The Meadows housing development at the intersection of College Lane and Ja-Rob. Lemke Development officials say there is 80 acres of land that will, eventually, contain a planned 250 homes. The property will extend from College Lane north to Kansas. Currently 60 lots have been sold, including four one-acre lots.

“This will be the third development agreement that Lemke Development has received with previous development agreements incentivizing production of 20 single-family homes within our community,” Hobbs City Planner Kevin Robinson said to the commission before its vote.

The city’s incentive program offers $10,000 per single-family home construction as reimbursement for the development of infrastructure within the home including water, sewer and sidewalk installation.

The commission also unanimously approved incentives for the construction of around five more homes to Property Management Plus LLC to the amount of $41,400.

Robinson told the commission the amount of the development agreement is contingent upon how much front footage each lot a house is built on will have with the development agreement incentivizing $180 per linear foot. The development project is for homes located on East Aspen Street. This is the second development agreement the City of Hobbs has made with Property Management Plus LLC., with that agreement assisting in the construction of three homes.

With the absence of Cobb and Taylor, Mayor Pro-Tem Joe Calderon tabled one of the action items on the agenda’s list, the fate of the city’s 2021-25 Infrastructure Capital Improvements Plan (ICIP). During the Aug. 5 meeting, the commission discussed a variety of projects that each commissioner member was asked to rank as their respective top five. During that meeting Robinson stated last year’s top five projects, the first being the renovation of the city’s aerobic digester facility.

Grant money for the renovation project came before the commission on Tuesday and was unanimously approved. The resolution authorized a grant agreement with the State of New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) for $200,000.

The funding was awarded through the 2018 Legislative Special Appropriation for the city’s Underground Aquifer Storage and Recovery Project. The project is currently on hold due to permitting issues through NMED, so the city requested reauthorization for the $200,000 to the digester facility, which was approved by the state legislature.

City utilities director Tim Woomer explained to the commission the job of a new aerobic digester.

“We call it digestion, but we have our little bacteria friends that do all the work,” Woomer told the commission. “They break down the solids within the waste stream, and then once they reduce it to a manageable level then we will dry it and thermally disinfect it. It can be use for anything. We use it in some of the parks and out at the golf course and a farmer takes the rest of it for use in his fields. It’s the workhorse of the solid side of water processing.”

Woomer said Tuesday, the total cost of the project is more than $10 million and has been in the works since 2013, when the planning and design phase started. Through a clean water state revolving fund, the city attained a 20-year, low-interest loan for $10,143,000 that is used to fund the project. The digestion facility is expected to be complete by the end of the year, which gives Woomer and the city that amount of time to attain more grant funding to help reduce the cost of the state loan. To date Woomer said the city has received three state grants adding up to around $1.5 million.

“The low interest loan is about at a quarter-percent over 20 years,” Woomer said, “and it’s like a construction loan or a line of credit, we draw off of that what we need. So any grants or additional monies we get reduces what the city’s part would be, and it reduces what we may or may not have to draw off of that.”

In other business:

• The commission unanimously approved a resolution for a capital appropriation of $500,000 from the 2019 Legislative session to be used on design and construction of road improvements on West Bender from the Lovington highway to West County Road. The funding will be used for widening and drainage of west Bender. According to the resolution, construction will be contingent on additional funding and is not planned to start until Spring of 2021.

• The commission unanimously approved an annual pavement and concrete agreement with Ramirez & Sons for the unit price of $7,481.08. Depending on the variety of projects, the expenditure could be between $250,000 and $1 million.

• The commission unanimously approved the purchase of 2,000 residential water meters from Water Meters of New Mexico, LLC for the total price of $360,900. The meters cost $180 each. Woomer said this is the first phase of meter replacement and that around 12,000 water meters would eventually be needed.

Todd Bailey can be reached at editor@ hobbsnews.com.