Public Works

The Public Works Department

 is currently ?.

The responsibilities of the department include the maintenance of 62 miles of ? and ?.


Big Mesa Water
Office - 575-868-4550
Water Manager - 575-686-8129 / 575-403-5700
After hours on-call - 575-686-8129 / 575-708-0702

Directors - Volunteer Staff

Dave Artery
Tim Isengard
Jeff Strom
Steve Morgan

Spring, March 2017 NEWSLETTER

Calendar year 2017 began as a continuation of 2016’s many issues your Water Board has had to juggle! January’s biggest issue was the new contract proposal by Water Manager Andrew Sandoval, which the Board found to be quite excessive and with performance questions, declined to approve, resulting in the resignation of Mr. Sandoval. This again left Big Mesa shorthanded, but Big Mesa was able to continue to operate thanks to the efforts of water & office employees, Board members and Volunteers. In January, Office Manager Dana Romero also gained expertise with Quick Books as well as conflicts with Big Mesa’s accountant Kelly McFarland’s systems. She also continued to clean-up customer accounts, although she became over-burdened with constant customer interaction and Big Mesa’s many billing/book keeping/accounting requirements.

At February’s meeting the 2017 detailed Budget Analysis disclosed a looming financial crisis! Combining Big Mesa’s monthly budget-exceeding expenditures on many budgetary line items with Alpha Southwest’s System Automation invoices (well exceeding Sandoval’s budget), resulted in a forecast of exhaustion of all Big Mesa’s cash and reserves. Without immediate action to increase revenues, insolvency would soon follow! The Board therefore reluctantly approved a Water Rate increase, which increased Member’s monthly water rate from well below, to very close to New Mexico’s MDWCA average water rate. As explained in the “Rate Increase Notice” sent to Members; with much more regulatory requirements and oversight, the days of cheap utilities are, unfortunately past. Well aware of some Member’s “tight” family budgets as well as the illegality of Big Mesa’s ability to offer any charitable solution, the Board suggests any Members in need seek government help from NM’s “LEAP” program which helps pay several energy costs, thus making room in Member’s budgets for water costs. February’s good news focused on notification from NM Environment Department that Big Mesa had no violations, only some suggestions for better operational policies and procedures. Big Mesa also installed another dumpster at the Trash Transfer Station to meet Member’s needs.

The very good news arrived at March’s meeting when Members learned Big Mesa’s Engineering Grant Application for $50,000, was approved! The Board is now pursuing the next steps required to acquire the funds. Also, a very positive presentation was given by a representative of the USDA who actually seeks projects to fund! With Big Mesa’s old infrastructure system, we have many projects to propose, an effort the Board will advance and focus upon. After Lorain Trnka proved her ability and benefit to Big Mesa, she became an efficient part-time, independent contractor assisting Dana with her billing/bookkeeping, and accounting duties. In March the Board also received approval from the state to operate our new automated system with only a Water II-Advanced certified manager, which employee Harvey Morris (already a Water II) was scheduled to test/achieve in April.

Just as things seemed to be smoothing out, unfortunately more bad events transpired. On 3/17/17 Harvey submitted his resignation, walking out without the required 2 week notice! Again your Board was immediately thrown into emergency mode, and then compounded by the resignation of Board President, Gayle Donathan! Big Mesa has been operating under the NM Rural Water license since Andrew’s resignation, although operation of the system still requires a Water II Manager, which Harvey supplied in that interim period. Upon Harvey’s departure and without a certified manager, Big Mesa could no longer make water! Quickly Board members, employees and volunteers tried to make/pump water up to the tank, but failed in their continued attempts to keep the system operating. So as the water stored in the tank drained down on March 22/23 Big Mesa issued a dire directive for Members to quickly reduce any water consumption, fearing that Big Mesa would soon run out of water! Fortunately between the ongoing actions of Board members Dave Artery (now Board President) and especially Steve Morgan, working with local volunteer Joe Martinez (certified), employee Joey, and Jason from Alpha SW, they finally solved the immediate problem and started pumping water, while staving off disaster! Big Mesa was then able to rescind the restricted water notice to Members, but still asks for Members to conserve water. As if that wasn’t enough, Mother Nature also added complications! Between the hurricane-like winds and the normal spring lake “turnover”, the muddied water reached turbidly levels exceeding what the barge pumps could accommodate, shutting them down! But your water team maintained their efforts, although pumping remains slow. Until the weather calms down and the tank reaches a “comfortable” level of 10’ of stored water, Big Mesa urges all Members to limit use of water as best they can. Conservation of water should always be followed.

Your Board continues to work with NM Rural Water and Alpha SW to remedy the pumping and automation problems while seeking at least a new Water II-A Manager from multiple sources and candidates for operational vacancies. The ongoing issue of personnel problems continues to be a large broken cog in Big Mesa’s operational wheel! In light of Big Mesa’s current situation, the Board asks Members to be patient with any of their water needs, as with limited employees it is difficult to quickly respond to all those needs. Please be patient as Big Mesa attempts to fill employee vacancies as quickly as possible, under the circumstances and in light of the certification requirements. The cycle of emergency situations requiring new employees that eventually don’t work out, thus returning Big Mesa to emergency situations, is a cycle that has plagued your Water Board. Your volunteer Board is working harder than ever to set Big Mesa on a course featuring; continuity of operations, Governmental regulatory compliance, financial stability, system replacement, long-term viability, and of course good quality water to Members as well as customer service. Thank you for your understanding, patience, and especially your volunteer assistance to help Big Mesa reach these goals!

Sincerely; Jeff Strom, Treasurer and your entire Water Board


Big Mesa Transfer Station

Nov/Mar - 8:30AM - 1:30PM
Apr/Oct - 8:30AM - 4:00PM


Farmers' Electric
Santa Rosa Office
1169 Historic Route 66
Santa Rosa, NM 88435
To Report An Outage
Office Hours - 8:00 am - 5:00 pm (M-F)

If you need to excavate in a public-right-of-way or need a barricade permit, please fill out the form found on the link below and return it to the Public Works Department at the Village offices with the appropriate fees and maps.


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