By Ron Warnick
QCS Senior Writer 

Arch Hurley puts water truck on wishlist


November 17, 2021

The Arch Hurley Conservancy District last week placed a new water truck for fire-protection purposes on its wish list for state capital outlay funds for 2022.

District manager Franklin McCasland said during the board’s regular meeting Nov. 9 that area lobbyist Clinton Harden, a former state senator, told him state revenue is so robust, the New Mexico Legislature likely will issue what are called junior monies in addition to usual capital-outlay allocations during its next session early next year.

With that in mind, Harden suggested the board submit a capital-outlay request now.

McCasland suggested the board request a new water truck that can carry up to 2,300 gallons. He said an equipped Mack truck would cost between $125,000 and $150,000. Used trucks are less expensive, but capital outlay funds can be used to buy only new equipment with warranties, he said.

McCasland said only one of the district’s water trucks is running well. The second has a rusty tank and comes with no power steering or power brakes.

The district often use the trucks for fire control when it burns tumbleweeds and other brush in the canals. The trucks also can be used to deliver water for cement work.

Board members agreed a good-working water truck was needed.

“We’ve got to have some sort of fire control,” board Vice President Larry Perkins said. “We have tremendous liability with what we have there now.”

Board President Robert Lopez also agreed with the request, saying controlled burns of dried brush in the canals sometimes can be “woolly.”

In other business:

n In his manager’s report, McFarland said Conchas Lake’s elevation that morning was 4,162.2 feet, about one foot higher than a year ago but a half-foot lower than the previous month. He said the lake received only 421 acre-feet of inflow during October and lost 1,997 acre-feet due to evaporation and other losses.

The district did not allocate water during the 2021 growing season because lake levels were too low. McCasland previously has said he wouldn’t be comfortable allocating water until the lake reaches 4,174 feet.

• Quay County Clerk Ellen White swore into office current board members Perkins and UV Henson for new terms. The board also chose to keep the officers the same: Lopez as president, Perkins as vice president and Henson as secretary/treasurer.

• McCasland said he recently sent a letter to U.S. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.) asking that the district get funds from the recently enacted infrastructure bill. He said he had not heard a response from the senator.

• The board approved a notice of public meetings for 2022. Arch Hurley meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month.

• The board approved an interim budget to the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration. McCasland said the budget contained no changes. The annual budget typically is set in March or April.

• Philip Box, a regular attendee of meetings, expressed concerns about a minimum-wage increase’s effects on district expenses. McCasland said a rise in those costs might force the district to raise assessments to rural landowners, which would be “hard to swallow” after a growing season where many had no crops due to a lack of water. Leaders in the state legislature in recent weeks also have talked about raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour for state workers.


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