YOU ARE HERE: IVPress HomeCollections

Will New River pipelining get funding?

December 27, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — This city and the New River Committee won't know until mid-January if R.W. Beck Inc. has secured more than $40 million in humanitarian funds to cover and line a section of the New River from the border to Highway 98, according to Imperial Irrigation District Director Rudy Maldonado.

For the few weeks leading up to the holiday season, Beck's Richard Zaragoza was called for updates on the status of the negotiations with a coalition of bankers that Zaragoza said was considering granting millions of dollars to a non-profit organization established by the New River Committee.

The city's Redevelopment Agency paid Beck, based in Seattle, $150,000 to lobby international bankers for humanitarian grants.

Bankers — in association with charitable private corporations — fund "humanitarian" projects for positive publicity and tax reasons.

Every time he was contacted, Zaragoza said he was waiting by the fax machine for written confirmation from "my bankers."


According to Zaragoza, those bankers are considering three huge projects.

Zaragoza is waiting to find out if the New River project is one of the first to get funding. He has told people in Calexico, including Maldonado, that the prospect for funds looks good but he hasn't trumpeted the matter publicly because the deal could still fall through.

Zaragoza explained how it could happen.

If the bankers decide to grant funds to the soon-to-be-established New River non-profit group, a seed amount of money would be deposited in the non-profit's bank account.

Beck would siphon a percentage of whatever money is granted as its fee.

Once the money is in the account, the New River non-profit would pay for an environmental review of the lining and covering project.

That environmental review would take into account the feasibility of working on the New River; a "navigable" body of water under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

If everything aligns and all the various governmental agencies approve the proposed lining and covering of the river, Beck would solicit more money from the bankers to fund the actual earth-moving.

If his bankers decide not to fund the initial environmental review, Zaragoza said the city could try to tap into different sources of funding with the $150,000 package of information Beck put together.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles