Upon recently moving a company to New Mexico, my wife and I can speak to economic perspectives and the future economic development issues of New Mexico.
New Mexico's Mountains are filled with beauty and wildlife, attracting people.
I can speak to this, having three distinct perspectives of the state. My Grandfather came to New Mexico about 1948 (the year I was born), bought two cattle ranches near Weed and Cloudcroft and kept his farmlands in Texas as well. When I was a child, at the age of 10, I was in heaven at the "Blue Water Ranch" near Weed, with my 22 Remington automatic rifle, enjoying freedom to hike and climb the mountains all summer long. Some of the happiest days of my childhood were when Grandma allowed me to drive the old Ferguson Ford Tractor out across the alfalfa fields, up and down the canyons of the Blue Water Ranch. My horse was "Old Keno" and many a time he took me up and over our Sacramento Mountains. Old Keno and I spent the summers exploring, climbing,hiking, stalking wild turkey, deeror whatever moved. Strangely, as much as I loved to hunt, I never shot a deer, elk or bear. At62 years young Istill love to be out in nature and enjoy the hunt more than the kill. It is, my joy to track them, see if I can spot them and then sit and observe. That has become a lifelong habit, to hunt well, but avoid unnecessary killing, when a striking photo will bring more lasting joy. Don't get me wrong I challenge anyone to a shooting match with a good gun. If you can beat me I will buy you the biggest steak in town, just name the time and place. But, age and reflection has taken me to a different level on things that bring lasting joy.
Yesterday, in the Sangre De Christos Mountains, near our place in New Mexico, I came upon 4 deer and watched them play for 20 minuetes before my wife hinted that it was time to go.
Adulthood took me away from these beloved mountains. I was saddened when my Grandma sold the ranch during the droughts of the late 1950's, but as I went into investments on Wall Street, banking in Texas and later on commercial real estate I never forgot New Mexico's mountains.
My companies constantly demanded attention. Boothe and Associates appraisals (http://www.benboothe.com), environmental consulting (http://www environment-solutions.com) and distribution of wind turbines (http://www.wind-inc.com).
Returning Home to the Land of Enchantment
Upon returning to New Mexico, as a New Mexico appraiser (www.benboothe.com) I see some of the same treasures that I loved as a child, but also a state that is changing and must deal with essential elements of survival. Those elements are Wind, Water, Air, Fire and Food. Our appraisal firm in New Mexico (Ben Boothe Appraisals, New Mexicowww.benboothe.com) is a natural, because I have been a certified general appraiser in New Mexico for many years. Ben Boothe Appraisals, New Mexico,has documented interesting economic trends. New Mexicans hav ebeen thinking about water issues since the 1800's. The issues of Water, Wind, Energy, Air and Food are personal and imperitive to most ranchers and city managers here. We hope to bring additional perspective and resources with new solutions to the state. Certainly property values have increased, but the unique approach to develop in the New Mexico "culture" has created gradual investment values and price increases, without the "boom and bust" disasters often seen in Arizona, Florida and even Texas.
Who Really Bends New Mexico to their Will?
New Mexico was once a poor state, seemingly trapped in a time warp. The Spanish government came into the area in the 1600's with a bang, but then as their nation's fortunes declined, their emissaries were all but abandoned. So the multi-cultural system of Mexican, Indian and Spanish lived and worked until the 1800's when yet a fourth culture, the Anglo Americans came into the picture and tried to bend it to their will. New Mexico has proven over the past 400 years, that people come here, but every new group that comes to this state learns that the land tends to bend them, more than they bend it. This is one of the enduring
New Mexico "treasures" it's cultural heritage
facets of New Mexico. The cultural treasure and diversity here still survives, and thrives. The environmental treasure brings tourists, huntes and developers, but it also survives and thrives. These two treasures define New Mexico more than any other.
New Mexicans love and cherish these two treasures. We find the Spanish culture of Northern New Mexico is often offended if you call them "Mexican". The Indian culture still maintains an "independence" from the United States. The Mexican workers come to New Mexico and find opportunity even as they work beside the Anglos (Who often think they run things). New Mexico's cultural power is rather like the women of the world. They let the men "think" they run things, but the real power belongs to the women. In New Mexico, the "land" and it's heart born people, culture and environment, still let the newcomers "think" they run things, but the real power belongs to the mysterious power of the land here.
Boothe and Associates appraisers in New Mexico, (http://www.benboothe.com) notes that New Mexico was a poor state, but is in transition: Facts (and we credit Ken Hughes, Executive Program Management Analyst, Department of Finance and Administration, Local Government Division, NM) for much of this data.
In 1991 New Mexico had a per capita income of $14,709, ranked 47th in the United States. Mora in some years had the lowest per capita income of any town in the USA. By 1995 the personal family income of New Mexico was only $25,991 (only 76% of the national average). Remember the majority of land in New Mexico is owned by the Government, the State or by Indian Reservations.
Most of New Mexico's jobs come from service jobs, and State and Federal Government spending. With prisons, universities, Indian reservations, military bases and government research facilities, New Mexico gets a lions share of income from governments. Here is how the industries rank by earnings produced.
Service industry earnings......................19%
State and local government....................16%
Would you believe that construction is the lowest ranked industry in the State and this may account for a shortage of housing and infrastructure in the New Mexico. Yet the population of New Mexico continues to increase by one of the highest percentage rates in the nation. Something here appeals to new industry that is not seen in other states. Cornucopia-Enterprise.com, (http://www.cornucopia-enterprise.com) a new company in Northern New Mexico that distributes and sells a new kind of greenhouse concept said:
"We provide a Greenhouse that is powered by wind turbines and solar panels, thus there is not an expense for electricity or fuel for irrigation, lighting or fans. Our concept allows 2 to 3 crops a year, vegetables even when there is snow outside and "near urban" production on smaller tracts of land, saving transportation expenses as well as land costs." Cornucopia-Enterprises LLC executives said for more information see (http://www.cornucopia-enterprise.com).
They cited something that we heard from many "Newcomers" to New Mexico. Cornucopia Enterprises reported that the culture here was more progressive than most states on energy, conservation and stewardship of natural resources.
"New Mexico investors immediately showed acceptance to our ideas, because they have been stewards of natural resources here for centuries" http://www.cornucopia-enterprises.com confirmed.
The Wind Turbine experts at Wind-Inc (http://www.wind-inc.com) echoed the same ideas."New Mexico has always been fighting a battle for survival in a place with often limited resources. From the Indians, the Spanish, Mexican and Anglo settlers, they have all learned how to conserve and prosper being good stewards. When we introduced Wind Turbines, Solar Panels, and Solar Water Heating systems for public and commercial enterprises, the state expressed immediate interest."
Environmental Consultants such as (http://www.environment-solutions.com) report that New Mexico is more progressive and accepting of planning and consideration of environmental studies and planning for long term projects. "We can show a city how to save 80% of it's electric bill with solar panels, solar water heating, and other energy savings measures. We can also put a prison, university or hospital on a program that can save $100,000 to $700,000 per year, with our overall energy Net Zero Energy System, said company representatives.
WHERE IS NEW MEXICO GROWING FASTEST?
New Mexico has interesting demographics. As projected by rate of increase, the top ten growing communities in the next fifteen years are:
- Sunland Park
- Rio Rancho
- Los Lunas
- Los Ranchos de Albuquerque
Those expected to show the biggest rate of population loss based upon research from the State are:
- Virden Reserve
- Santa Clara
The 1990's showed a swelling of immigration to fast growing Rocky Mountain states from other states such as California. People from Oklahoma, Texas, Florida and Arizona have shown strong migration into New Mexico, often bringing in much needed capital to land rich but dollar poor New Mexicans.
According to census data, resort and other tourist towns have higher poverty levels due in part to a lack of affordable housing for seasonal workers. This seems odd to us, because New Mexico has more stringent licensing requirements for building trades than most states. That tends to slow and limit development, and while one must appreciate a desire for good standards, in many cases it also tends simply to be a tool for a few local contracters to "protect their turf" from competition. If New Mexico wants to eliminate housing shortages, it needs to consider how to encourage builders. Growth based on tourism, retirement and even telecommuting creates some jobs, but they are mostly low paying and seasonal.
A study of Fortune 500 business location decisions found that large firms take advantage of public infrastructure more than any other public assistance, such as zoning, job training and financing. Indeed, the growth of public infrastructure is the primary determinant of the growth of a region’s economy. In other words, public dollars beget private. A study done in the town of Clay, New York, found that parcels with access to sewer facilities fetched 1.8 to three times the price of similar but unserved parcels, and that sewer systems were a far more important factor than centralized water in determining community land values.
But in an arid location like New Mexico water is a key issue. It is an essential element of survival and certainly essential to attracting new industry, and supporting the quality of life of the resident population.
Many communities have relied on grants and (increasingly) loans from a variety of federal and state public sources to provide for the final infrastructure piece that can entice economic development projects. Local Government Division of county managers and planning officials,growth-related issues rated most important included the following, and notice which was at the top of the list:
Impacts of growth;
Demands on services and infrastructure;
Transition from rural to urban;
Increase or decline in population;
Degradation of natural resources;
An investor, Afsaneh Mansoori (http://bbarealty.com) has moved to New Mexico to explore the shortage of inexpensive housing in New Mexico. She said: "We are bringing investment capital to New Mexico to seek out investments, buy, sell, and develop new housing opportunities, especially low cost housing." Afsaneh is particularly interested in renovating historic properties, or taking dilapidated low cost properties such as mobile home parks, upgrading them into efficient, clean financially attractive places. She is the type of person New Mexico needs, to upgrade and deal with housing shortages.
Both Wind Inc., and Environmental Solutions which have recently moved to New Mexico, have worked on a new program for communities to deal with water issues. The water tables have consistently declined, while population and commercial growth have increased demand. Water will be one of the most important elements of survival for States and communities of the future.
Ben Boothe, New Mexico Real Estate Appraiser (http://www.benboothe.com) said:
"We have now created a cost effective desalination system for agriculture, industry and municipalities that can produce clean water at about 1/4 of the cost of 'harvesting' water by traditional reservoir/well systems. We can provide a 100 year water supply, and not deplete existing traditional water sources." Ben Boothe, New Mexico Real Estate Appraiser and Desalination expert.
The average cost that cities sell water for in the Southwest is $4.50 to $4.90 per thousand gallons. With Boothe's new desalination plant system, costs can be reduced about 75%. The highest cost of desalination is electric energy to run the pumps and wells. Boothe and Associates, Appraisers/consultants in New Mexico now can reduce that cost with wind turbines and solar panels. The estimated cost to produce fresh water from brackish water is about 95 cents per thousand gallons, about 1/4 the cost most municipalities are paying. Every aquifer has brackish water that cannot be utilized for potable water, or even for agriculture.
"We can use this abundant "salt water", save the fresh water, and do it all with renewable energy in New Mexico."said executives of Wind-Inc., a wind turbine company, which recently moved to New Mexico. (http://www.wind-inc.com).
Add this to the issues facing agriculture in New Mexico. Cornucopia Enterprises (http://www.cornucopia-enterprise.com) can utilize land near urban areas that has become very expensive,but on1/6th of the land area required by traditional agriculture,
- Produce 2 or 3 crops a year through high tunnel and greenhouse systems,
- Conserve water through drip irrigation systems,
- Use no electricity or fossil fuels because Cornucopia-Enterprise.com uses wind turbines and solar to power their pumps, fans and irrigation wells.
- Cornucopia reduces food production costs by about 50%,
- Cornucopia-Enterprise.com, encourages organic food production wherein the vegetables actually have "fresh taste",
- Enjoy 2 or 3 crops a year making higher production possible on smaller tracts of land.
When New Mexico Appraiser, Ben Boothe (www.benboothe.com) met Governor Bill Richardson, of New Mexico he was impressed in Richardson's desire to bring new investment and grant money to the state, particularly for "Green" and "Renewable energy" projects. The Governor said: "New Mexico has emerged as a clean energy leader, increasing its percentage of green jobs faster than other Rocky Mountain states. The Headwaters Economic report found that New Mexico enjoyed 62 percent growth in the green jobs sector from 1995-2007. In 2009 and 2010 it continued to grow. New Mexico also showed strength in wind, solar and geothermal potential. From 1990 to 2007, New Mexico’s renewable energy production grew by more than 200 percent, the highest rate in the Rocky Mountain region." Time will tell if the new political leadership will offer the same forward thinking leadership, but we have high hopes based upon campaign promises.
“New Mexico’s abundant sunshine and windy plains -- as well as our proximity to fast growing western energy markets -- put us in the sweet spot of renewable energy growth,” said Jon Goldstein, Secretary of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources of New Mexico.
So this is what we, as recent "Newcomers" to New Mexico see:
- A state that still treasures it's cultural identity
- A state that believes in stewardship of the environment
- A state that culturally puts quality of life above "growth for growth's sake"
- A place that has magical blue skies, blue/green mountains, and a mystery of nature that inspires
- A marvelous place to live and work where the pace is different and the people hospitable
- A place to explore the 5 elements of survival, wind, water, food, fire, and air.
You must see this video, to get a true handle on the New Mexico spirt and opportunity:
For further data or information see:
Appraiser in New Mexico and appraisal data: Ben Boothe (http://www.benboothe.com)
Environmental Consulting: Environmental Solutions (http://www.environment-solutions.com)
Greenhouses and High Tunnels (Wind and Solar Powered): (http://cornucopia-enterprise.com)
Global Perspectives for VIPs (trends and news):http://www.bootheglobalperspectives.com
Housing Investments: Ask for Afsaneh Mansoori (http://www.bbarealty.com)