The housing market in Portales took a hard downturn in the 2013-2014 fiscal year, according to building permit numbers reported at Tuesday’s Portales City Council meeting.
After issuing an average of 50 building permits a year for new single-family and multi-family dwellings in fiscal years 2009-2010 to 2012-2013, the total dropped to 20 in 2013-2014.
City planning and zoning director Sammy Standefer, who presented the numbers to the council as part of his annual department report, said he was not that concerned about the 60-percent drop.
“Historically, we’ve had lows before and we bounced back the next year,” Standefer said. “It’s funny. When rest of the world crashed, we had out best year ever.”
He was referring to the 2009-2010 fiscal year when 57 permits for singe-family dwellings were issued and three more for multi-family units.
Standefer said there are still the same number of custom homes being built, but spec homes — homes that are built without a buyer — are not being built.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the council:
• Approved a resolution accepting a grant of $95,000 from the state environment department for city well field improvements.
• Approved a resolution to endorse Bond C, which provides $139.8 million for education projects across the state, including $11 million for Eastern New Mexico University to convert the Golden Library into the Golden Student Success Center.
• Approved a request to purchase a 60-foot easement east of Valencia Elementary School for $7,500 to install and maintain a reclaimed water line.
• Approved a request to accept grant up to $190.230 from the federal government for the Portales Area Transit System for the 2015 fiscal year. The grant requires a cash match. City Manager Doug Redmond said the city budgeted $85,000 for the match. Because the amount is less than the federally required match, he said adjustments would have to be made, which include not purchasing an additional van and reclassifying a position to save $12,000 in salary.
• Approved notice of intents for a petition of annexation of the New Mexico Christian Children’s Home subdivision and an application for zone change of the same property from single-family residential to a planned unit zone.
Standefer said the Children’s Home plans to build 16 duplex apartments for single mothers.