San Juan County receives state grant to mount anti-litter, illegal dumping campaign

New bridge on County Road 5500 on schedule for April completion

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
  • Anti-littering and illegal dumping messages have been posted on billboards located throughout San juan County.
  • The campaign was paid for by a grant from two stage agencies.
  • The billboards cost approximately $11,000 and are due to remain up through the end of June.

FARMINGTON — Drivers who have traveled along three of the main thoroughfares in San Juan County over the last month may have noticed a series of billboards targeted at discouraging littering and illegal dumping.

County spokesman Devin Neeley said the county was awarded a grant from the Recycling and Illegal Dumping Fund operated by the New Mexico Environment Department and the Clean and Beautiful program operated by the New Mexico Tourism Department.

The grant funded an advertising campaign that led to anti-littering and illegal dumping messages being posted on billboards adjacent to County Road 350 on Crouch Mesa, U.S. Highway 64 between Farmington and Bloomfield, and N.M. Highway 516 between Farmington and Aztec.

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A billboard adjacent to County Road 350 on Crouch Mesa is part of an anti-littering campaign recently launched by San Juan County with a state grant.

Neeley said the billboards cost approximately $11,000 and are due to remain up through the end of June.

The grants provided additional funding for disposal fees for cleanups of litter and illegal dumping sites, Neeley said, along with the hiring of interns to work on those cleanups.

A billboard on the north side of U.S. Highway 64 between Farmington and Bloomfield is one of three located throughout San Juan County that encourage residents not to litter or dump trash illegally.

This is the second year in a row San Juan County has received a RAID grant. Neeley said the county also received a grant last year that paid for a trailer that has been used to haul away trash.

Bridge project approaches completion

In other county news, the construction of a new bridge across the San Juan River on County Road 5500 is proceeding on schedule and should be finished by late April, Neeley said.

According to the contract, the project has a 330-day construction schedule for substantial completion, along with a 30-day schedule for punch list items. Neeley said the project began on May 20, 2021, which would put its scheduled date for substantial completion in the third week of April — approximately seven weeks from now.

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Workers lay asphalt on the north side of the new bridge over the San Juan River on County Road 5500 on March 3 as the project approaches completion next month.

"They're on time for that, but probably not sooner," Neeley said of the Albuquerque-based contractor, Kiewit New Mexico Co.

The county's contract with Kiewit includes penalties of $1,500 a day for exceeding the 330-day schedule.

Commission votes to consider additional capital expenditures

Members of the San Juan County Commission unanimously approved a request by the county staff to consider funding additional capital expenditures for the Fiscal Year 2022 budget during their March 1 meeting in Aztec.

Deputy County Manager Jim Cox presented the request on behalf of the county staff. Cox told commissioners the staff was requesting the additional expenditures for a variety of reasons. Those include a feared shortage of architects, engineers and contractors for public works projects in the near future because of an anticipated abundance of such work funded by the American Rescue Plan and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress.

Cox said national supply chain shortages are likely to be made worse by the increased number of public works projects, resulting in significant delays for some items. And the increased rate of inflation will eat away at the purchasing power of the money that has been set aside for those projects, he said.

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Cox noted that supply chain issues already have had an impact on the purchase of some items the county buys regularly, including new doors, for which there is an 11-week wait. He said the anticipated wait for some significant items stretches six to nine months.

The authorization to move ahead on some projects or to purchase equipment sooner than expected was being sought by the staff for those reasons, he said, explaining that those purchases and projects originally were targeted for the Fiscal Year 2023 budget.

"We want to get a head start while we know we can contract with engineers, architects," he said, noting that he recently had spoken to representatives of an architecture firm who told him they planned to be more judicious about the contracts they bid on, knowing there soon will be so much work available.

The additional capital expenditures were approved for projects or equipment related to the San Juan County Juvenile Services Center, McGee Park, the San Juan County Sheriff's Office, Riverview Golf Course, the San Juan County Adult Detention Center, and new bridges for county roads 3121 and 8111. The estimated cost of the expenditures is $3.75 million, according to Neeley.

The new spending plan will be presented to commissioners for their approval at their March 15 meeting.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com.

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