Good news and bad news about two buildings in Corrales came out of the Village Council meeting on Tuesday (Nov. 14).
The good news is that Council approved a purchase agreement to purchase the former Wells Fargo Bank building across the street from the Village Administrative Complex, and it comes with water rights.
The bad news is that the opening of the recently installed animal shelter located at the Administrative Complex won’t be open until next year.
It’s bad news for several reasons, Village Administrator Ron Curry said. For one, it’s going to cost the Village more money to retro-fit electric and plumbing, though he didn’t give a cost estimate. And, with a cold winter coming up it’s bad news for the stray dogs and other lost or wandering animals that would normally be housed there.
Councilor Bill Woldman asked Curry what would happen to them.
“I don’t have an answer to that,” said Curry, adding that they were in the process of exploring options.
Curry said miscommunication between the Village and Pennsylvania-based Horizon Structures LLC and confusion over whether its modular building met the standards of state regulators led to the problem.
Curry said the Village thought it was purchasing a building that met state standards. Afterall, Sandoval County bought an identical unit from the same company a few years ago.
The building was shipped and installed on a concrete slab at the north end of the complex parking lot in August. But inspectors with the Construction Industries Division red tagged the building. So the first question was why was Corrales’ building red tagged and Sandoval County’s not?
Curry said one difference was the one in Sandoval County was built on an elevated platform. In any case, Curry said the questions they’ve asked has led to a lot of finger pointing and a cold shoulder from the company.
“I don’t want to make excuses,” Curry told the Council. “We have been surprised by some of these things.”
Councilor Zach Burkett asked if the Village would be able to recover the excess cost. Curry said attorneys were looking at it. The first concern is getting the building into operating order, then they would decide whether pursuing damages was prudent.
Curry said the target date for opening the facility was the end of January or early February.
The meeting ended on a happier note with the sale of the bank building. Wells Fargo moved out in August and the Village had first dibs on buying it, according to the lease. Mayor Jim Fahey said there were plenty of other people interested in buying the building, which was first appraised at $120,000. But with 3-acre feet of water rights attached, the buying price totaled $395,000.
Fahey called the purchase “very satisfying” and Councilor Stuart Murray characterized it as a “great buy.”
It’s unclear how the Village will utilize the building or water rights.
We do know the ATM will stay, though Murray wondered if it should be relocated so space on the north side could be better utilized.
There has been talk of using the building as a visitor’s center, as it has a bathroom that could be opened to the public, something lacking in the area. But Fahey put off any discussion until the deal was done.
Curry said the Village would buy the building using funds from the state’s Local Government Investment Pool, or buy it with cash on hand. That won’t be determined until near the first of the year, he said.