The Independent (USA)

Estancia Valley sees huge uptick in gross receipts

- By Sara Werth

The state’s Economic Developmen­t Department recently released its 4th Quarter County Economic Report, and communitie­s in the Estancia Valley are showing signs of much-needed economic recovery.

Within the last quarter of Fiscal Year 2021, Torrance County saw a 269% increase in Matched Taxable Gross Receipts (MTGR). Santa Fe County is up 12%, and Bernalillo County is up 10%.

The data used to create the individual county reports is valuable because the MTGR matches tax payments with reported receipts for each taxpayer by industry, reflecting spending trends.

The report gives a detailed breakdown of where and when money is being spent within the 33 counties that make up New Mexico. The bulk of the increase in Torrance County is due to constructi­on, said Myra Pancrazio, executive director of the Estancia Valley Economic Developmen­t Associatio­n.

“The majority of that [growth] is the constructi­on of the Western Spirit transmissi­on line, and the Western Spirit Wind Farm. That’s all a part of Pattern Energy,” she said.

The Western Spirit Wind project comprises four separate wind farms located in Guadalupe, Lincoln, and Torrance counties.

These four projects combined will total more than 1,050 megawatts of renewable energy and will be the “largest single phase renewable energy buildout in U.S. history,” said Matt Dallas, spokesman for Pattern Energy.

During peak constructi­on time, the wind farm and transmissi­on lines project employed over 1,500 individual­s, Dallas said.

“The project is Pattern, so they subcontrac­t all the work out,” Pancrazio said. “What we ask them to do is to utilize local [labor] as much as they can on the subcontrac­tors.”

Some of those subcontrac­tors have been union labor out of Albuquerqu­e, Dallas said.

Once constructi­on is complete, “there will be more than 100 full time positions” available, said Jeremy Turner, Director of New Mexico Project Developmen­t with Pattern. Though some wind power jobs have already been filled, Turner said more jobs will be added for site work.

Turner said that constructi­on on the wind farm and supporting transmissi­on lines should be completed “by the end of the year.”

“We’re very proud of the work we’ve put in so far, and in the time that we’ve done it,” said Turner, calling the project “a huge undertakin­g.”

The influx of laborers to the area has been beneficial for local businesses as well, Pancrazio said.

“People are staying in our RV parks, the hotels, they’re eating at our restaurant­s, they’re shopping at our grocery stores, they're buying gas from our gas stations throughout the county,” she said. “So, I think that it has a positive impact to all the communitie­s in Torrance County, including southern Santa Fe County and the Edgewood area as well.”

Whether or not local population­s are increasing as a result of the economic recovery taking place in the Estancia Valley is not yet clear.

“I think it’s a little bit too early to tell,” Pancrazio said. “We’ll be able to see an increase in home sales or rentals when the constructi­on’s done. That'll tell us who’s moved here, and then it also gives a good indication of what other businesses are opening up. And we’ll be able to put an analysis together to see the effect of this once constructi­on’s done.”

Additional growth in the Estancia Valley can be attributed to an uptick in retail trade. Retail MTGRS in Torrance County rose by 13%, in Bernalillo County by 26%, and in Santa Fe County by 27%.

As the upward economic trend continues, Pancrazio mentioned other forthcomin­g projects.

“Armaspec in Moriarty,” said Pancrazio of the firearms accessory manufactur­ing facility, “is starting the second phase of their build-out. It’s a manufactur­ing operation. They've already completed their first constructi­on project. There’s a natural gas station being built in Moriarty. We’re fixing to begin constructi­on on the City of Moriarty’s new fire station. The renovation­s are completed at Fatpipe in Edgewood. Constructi­on on the RV park in getting there.”

“I think each community has something going on,” she said. “Economic developmen­t takes time. It doesn’t all happen quickly; it happens over a matter of time. But we’re very busy right now.”

 ?? ?? A fundraiser for the Moriarty Rotary Club raised about $9,000 while participan­ts golfed cowboy style. Proceeds will benefit Rotary’s Backpack Program and scholarshi­ps for local students. Photo by Sara Werth.
A fundraiser for the Moriarty Rotary Club raised about $9,000 while participan­ts golfed cowboy style. Proceeds will benefit Rotary’s Backpack Program and scholarshi­ps for local students. Photo by Sara Werth.

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