Declaration frees up $750K for relief during monsoon season

Dan Schwartz
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Gov. Susana Martinez has declared a state of emergency, freeing up $750,000 statewide for existing and future monsoon damage to public property.

San Juan County Emergency Manager Don Cooper said the funds will pay for 75 percent of the cost to repair county property damaged after a heavy thunderstorm late last month. Martinez made the declaration earlier this month.

Cooper estimates the total cost to repair government property in the county will be upwards of $1.4 million, and the state can authorize another $750,000 if local governments spend the first lump sum, he said.

State officials were not immediately able to say whether another $750,000 would be authorized, if requested.

The Aug. 26 thunderstorm dropped almost 4 inches of rain in one evening in northeastern San Juan County. It lifted mobile homes off their foundations, pulled roofs off homes and washed mud and silt over roads.

Cooper said the state disaster funds are for public property only.

"As far as private property, this is no help," he said.

He encouraged resident to buy flood insurance, even if they don't live in flood plains.

Official tallies show most of the storm damage was on government property — approximately $1 million — in Aztec. According to county spreadsheets, Aztec estimated $290,000 in street repairs, water valves and bridge maintenance. They estimated another $170,000 in roof repairs at the police department, motor vehicle department and other city buildings, according to the spreadsheets.

Farmington Electric Utility System officials estimated the need for nearly $60,000 in repairs to their system, including materials, equipment and personnel hours, according to the spreadsheets.

And officials estimated more than $265,000 in damage to county government property, according to the spreadsheets. The greatest amount of damage — $260,000 — is in anticipated road repairs, according to the spreadsheets.

Dan Schwartz covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606 and Follow him @dtdschwartz on Twitter.