AZTEC — City commissioners on Tuesday approved about $118,851 in federal and state emergency assistance to help pay for damages caused by last fall's floods.
Severe storms last year prompted the state of New Mexico to declare a statewide emergency, which qualified the city of Aztec for federal and state money to cover the costs of repairs to public property.
Two storms on Sept. 10 and 12 inundated the city with water, downing trees and transforming streets into debris-filled rivers that blanketed much of the city in silt and mud.
Since then, the city has submitted paperwork for funds from the federal and state governments. The city has identified five public repair projects for the emergency funding.
The aid will pay for debris removal and repairs on a culvert that intersects with the Blanco Arroyo on Ash Street, repairs to a fire hydrant along Main Avenue north of Legion Road and cleanup at the city's 28 retention ponds that collect and slow water as it flows downhill into the Blanco Arroyo. They dot the west-facing hills southeast of Aztec High School.
Funds will also help pay for debris removal from city storm drains and the replacement of a retaining wall at the Aztec Museum's Pioneer Village grounds and a new sewer line at Hampton Arroyo between Sabena Street and Martinez Lane, where water reached as high as 22 feet in the arroyo.
Four of the five projects were completed this winter. The Ash Street culvert has yet to be completed. Cobble stones in the arroyo have not yet been placed, said Aztec Projects Manager Ed Kotyk.
The city was awarded $101,872.02, or a 75 percent reimbursement rate, for repairs from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $16,978.67, or a 12.5 percent reimbursement rate, from the state's Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
The city is responsible for paying the balance, or $16,978.67, to earn the funding.
Estevan Lujan, a spokesperson for the state's Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said the city of Aztec has, so far, requested and received authorization for reimbursement for five projects.
Kotyk said the city may have more projects to add to the list by the end of the month.
"We have or will be submitting up to ten or 12, including the five," Kotyk said. "The others are going through the review process."
Aztec has until April 30 to submit additional requests or to request an extension.
The statewide extent of the damage caused last September is still certain, but a report can be expected in late summer, Lujan said.
"For this particular event, it was a pretty major disaster," Lujan said. "At this point, it's hard to say what the total amount of damage will be. There's a lot, that's for sure. We will know a total for private and public requests when all the reports are in. It will be data we've collected from private homeowners, municipalities, counties."