An application to the State of New Mexico for new kitchen equipment, passenger vehicles and food transportation units for senior citizens services was submitted by the City of Carlsbad.
The Carlsbad City Council approved the $179,000 application to the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department (ALTSD) on May 11.
The application deadline was May 28, read a memo from City of Carlsbad Municipal Services Director Angie Barrios-Testa to City Council.
“The ALTSD application process is now open for consideration of 2022 General Obligation Bond Capital Outlay funds. ALTSD is the State of New Mexico’s designated agency for the administration of programs and services designed to meet the needs of older adults and adults living with disabilities,” she wrote in the memo.
Barbara Romero, ALTSD’s capital projects coordinator, said general obligation bond funds are derived from property taxes. She said senior citizens centers statewide qualify for the bond money.
“The entire community across the State are very welcome to having senior centers in their communities,” she said. “It’s something they deserve. They put in their time.”
Romero said senior citizens were esteemed members of their respective communities back in their younger days.
“We do value our seniors and we do 100 percent want to see senior centers or good senior centers across the State of New Mexico that are code compliant,” she said.
In her memo, Barrios-Testa said the City of Carlsbad is involved of phase one renovations of the former Pate Elementary School.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway said the property was donated to the City by the Carlsbad Municipal Schools. The New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) approved the donation and transfer of property on April 23, 2018 and the City took possession on May 16 of that year.
Janway said construction work on the new Alejandro Ruiz Senior Center will be done in phases and should cost around $3 million. He said phase one should be complete this fall.
Ruiz was a Loving native and World War II veteran was a private first class in the Army and was recognized for his actions in the Battle of the Okinawa and received the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman. He died in 2009 and was inducted into the Carlsbad Hall of Fame in 2017.
Barrios-Testa stated in her memo the Southeast NM Community Action Corporation (SNMCAC) currently owns the kitchen and transportation equipment, which is scheduled to be moved to the renovated building.
“The equipment is in dire need of upgrade and replacement due to continuing high repair costs, and obsolete replacement parts. The City of Carlsbad is prepared to act as fiscal agent to assist in replacing the critical equipment, as SNMCAC is unable to apply directly for the funds,” the memo indicated.
She said the equipment can be leased along with the use of the building in exchange for the services to the community.
“There is no match requirement under this program,” according to the memo.
Once renovations are complete, Janway said Carlsbad will have two senior centers with North Mesa Senior Recreation Center and the Alejandro Ruiz Senior Center.
“Thank you to Mayor Pro-Tem Eddie Rodriguez for the excellent suggestion of naming this new center after Alejandro Ruiz,” he said.
According to ALTSD, applications will be reviewed on June 1 and final recommendations will be made to DFA on June 30.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at MSmith@currentargus.com or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.