As with most residents of Sierra County on Monday, July 27, officials with the City of Elephant Butte were assessing damage and beginning a slow cleanup after monsoon storms dropped an average of three-inches of rain across the region the previous evening. While not as hard hit as their neighbors in the Village of Williamsburg, City of Truth or Consequences, the heavy rain did pose many problems for Elephant Butte residents. The slow-to-pass storms temporarily washed out several community streets, spreading mud, rocks and debris into roadways and onto private properties throughout the community.
During a special meeting Monday afternoon, which was originally scheduled by the Elephant Butte City Council to address a budget summary and a few other minor tasks, city manager Vicki Ballinger offered a brief report about the storm and cleanup efforts. Prior to hearing from the city manager, mayor Edna Trager confirmed reports of significant high water and runoff along Balboa, Rock Canyon Road and in many other locations across the city. She said after touring trouble spots with Ballinger earlier Monday morning, city officials found no major property damage, but did note a considerable amount of mud, debris and residual ponding of water was posing problems for many community residents.
Ballinger told councilors that city crew members were actively working to clear the streets and would be addressing washouts and roadside damage in the coming days. While this effort is in progress, she urged residents to practice caution in traveling about the community.
After being told Balboa Park encountered only minor problems during the storm, councilor Travis Atwell acknowledged recent concerns about the structural integrity of flood water retention ponds in that area and questioned if efforts were underway to shore up the drainage system. While expressing sensitivity to this concern, the city manager indicated she would prefer to move forward with planned engineering assessments and expected recommendations, rather than taking any immediate and possibly inappropriate action.
Councilor Michael Williams also raised concern about considerable ponding that occurred along portions of Canadian Circle. He said some residents were still unable to access their properties as of Monday afternoon, and suggested the council may want to consider the installation of a culvert to better handle future rainstorms.
FINAL QUARTER SUMMARY
The primary reason motivating the council’s special meeting, was a pressing need to complete a final summary of the 2019/2020 Fiscal Year’s fourth quarter. This period ended with the startup of the current fiscal cycle on June 30 and the city’s summary was due to state authorities.