Inmates from the San Juan County Adult Detention Center help clean up mud from last week’s storm, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, at the parking lot of McGee
Inmates from the San Juan County Adult Detention Center help clean up mud from last week's storm, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, at the parking lot of McGee Park Convention Center. (John Austria/The Daily Times)

FARMINGTON — Last week's monsoons caused more than $1 million in damage to public property owned by the city of Farmington and San Juan County, according to official estimates.

San Juan County was struck by heavy rains last week. Rainfall accumulated to 2.29 inches at the Four Corners Regional Airport, most coming in bursts on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, said Troy Marshall, a meteorological technician for the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.

Farmington averages 0.78 inches of rain in September, according to the weather service.

San Juan County Emergency Manager Don Cooper said officials added the preliminary cost estimates for the city and county to determine there was $1 million of damage to public property. Officials from the county and the city think each government will have more than $500,000 in cost because of the storm, he said.

There was damage to bridges and roads and rainwater drainage systems throughout Farmington and the county. County-owned McGee Park and the Juvenile Detention Center both flooded significantly.

"I think everyone is in somewhat of a survival mode," San Juan County Executive Officer Kim Carpenter said. "We're going to try to get things cleaned and get back to normal."

Cooper said the city and the county are working to draft emergency resolutions that elected officials are scheduled to vote on during Tuesday meetings. The resolutions are the first steps the local governments can take to get some of their storm cleanup cost reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, he said. County Public Works Director Dave Keck said about 25 public works employees will be cleaning up debris on county roads for an estimated four to six weeks before conditions will appear back to normal.

A front end loader moves dirt from last week’s storm, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013 at McGee Park Convention Center.
A front end loader moves dirt from last week's storm, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013 at McGee Park Convention Center. (John Austria/The Daily Times)

He said the crews will focus on county roads near County Road 350 and McGee Park, which were hit hard by the storm.

In addition to the public works employees, San Juan County Adult Detention Center inmates are working to cleanup affected areas.

On Thursday, Friday and Monday, an extra nine-inmate crew of workers was sent to help clear debris from McGee Park and fill sandbags for residents looking to better protect their property, said Tom Havel, detention center administrator.

Those 176 hours of inmate labor were in addition to regularly scheduled inmate work crews, he said.

In other county business:

•In addition to the emergency declaration, county commissioners also are scheduled to vote Tuesday to give Farmington the old Halvorson House building, 4500 Wildflower Drive. The building was formerly a residential treatment facility for youth with substance abuse issues. The house closed in March 2010. The county will give the building to the city to operate an after-school program.

•Farmington City Manager Rob Mayes will give commissioners a presentation on a rate increase by Farmington Electric Utility System. The utility is considering a more than 6-percent increase to rate payers. Most users would see about a $1 to $2 increase in utility costs per month, depending on usage, as a result of the higher rate.


Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and rboetel@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.