Impact report on F-16 flights delayed

Written by on July 9, 2019

The environmental impact statement for proposed Holloman Air Force Base training flights over the Gila will be delayed for a season because of the number of complaints and concerns received, resident Frances Gonzales told the Bayard City Council during their meeting Monday.

Holloman has plans to fly F-16s over the Gila Wilderness, including a possible 10,000 sorties and the dropping of 15,000 flares and 15,000 bundles of chaff per year. The Bayard City Council approved a resolution in April that opposes the flyovers. 

“I’m just coming on behalf of the Holloman folks,” Gonzales said. “We finally got a letter from Holloman Friday that it looks like [the environmental impact statement is] going to be coming in the fall or the late fall.” 

The Daily Press had previously reported that the impact statement was expected in late spring or early summer of this year.

“They’re really going over a lot of the complaints and the concerns that they’ve gotten,” Gonzales said. “Especially after we have been around doing the resolutions and it’s come in the press. Believe it or not, because you guys — as the City Council — supported it, a lot of our residents are now getting on that website and they’re letting them know of their concerns as well. And apparently, they’ve gotten a whole bunch of them. They’re really taking into consideration in this area and they said that they had never had so much input as they have now.” 

In other news, councilors approved a resolution that adopts the city’s infrastructure and capital improvement plan for 2021-25.

The plan is “designed for future planning of priority projects,” said Bayard Clerk-Treasurer Kristina Ortiz after the meeting. “It gets submitted to the [state’s] Department of Finance and Administration and is used by various agencies for evaluation of grant funding.”

She said the Department of Finance and Administration looks at the top five projects on the list. Bayard’s top five for 2021 are sidewalk improvements from U.S. 180 to Mayo Street, drainage improvements on McKee, Erie and South Foy streets, recreation improvements, a library wall project and public safety information technology. 

The City Council approved a special-use permit for the old Chino Federal Credit Union building, located at 607 Winifred St., that will allow George Clausen to live and work out of the building. Ortiz said he will operate a decal business — which Ortiz said was “currently an online business with the intent to expand to a local shop.” 

Bayard Police Chief Lee Alirez told the Daily Press after the meeting that there had been a brush fire on the Fourth of July around 4:40 p.m. The fire was on Fahey Street and burned an area measuring about 25 yards by 25 yards that was mostly likely started by a bottle rocket landing in the grass. The fire threatened a home and to cross an adjoining alley. The Bayard Fire Department battled the fire, along with residents who brought out their hoses and shovels. No one was injured. 

Alirez also said there were two calls to city police to report fireworks being lit after 10 p.m. on the Fourth of July. 

Councilor Eloy Medina said the weeds at the cemetery are “really bad.” 

“We will be looking for a contractor to provide landscape services in order to eradicate the weed problem,” Ortiz said after the meeting. 

Councilor Charles Kelly said he is “still very concerned about streets” in need of being repaired and redone. Ortiz said after the meeting that Bayard is waiting on a grant agreement from the New Mexico Department of Transportation to take care of pothole repair. 

Mayor Chon Fierro and Councilor Adrian Ortiz were absent from Monday’s meeting.

C.P. Thompson may be reached at cp@scdailypress.com.

 

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