|The Complicated Facts
Here's some stuff
that might come in handy if you ever want to call this
Resources & Tips
If you are interested in moving to the Folsom area or
if you are a current resident with problems to solve,
this is the page for you!
Moving to Folsom is not an easy task. There are rarely
houses or land for rent or sale, or jobs nearby.
Existing home prices are often outrageous for the
quality of house and property. The nearest shopping
region is 37 miles away in Raton. The nearest Wal-Mart
is another 20 miles farther in Trinidad.
Worst of all, virtually no one in the area seems to be
able to provide answers to questions that most people
from more populated areas take for granted. Most feel
that if you must pay even a small amount for a service,
then that service is not a viable option. For those who
are used to paying $10 just to park their car outside a
restaurant, this philosophy can seem a bit confusing.
So why move here? No
traffic. Clean air. Less Crime. Mountains. Wildlife.
If you are autopsied when you die, the
coroner can tell if you were a city or country
Country dwellers have pink lungs while those
of city dwellers are gray in color.
Makes you think!
If you still want to live here despite the
difficulties, read on for helpful tips and info!
Who Would Move Here?
Building, or Moving a House
Sewage Disposal (this is a big
Safe Drinking Water
(another big problem)
Junk Metal &
Tire & Battery Disposal
Movies, and other Entertainment
Who Would Move Here?
The obvious candidates are retirees who do not need jobs
and have the financial means to build or move a house to
Retirees are always welcome, but there are obvious
problems down the road for a remote community consisting
entirely of elderly citizens. Who mows the lawns, paints
the houses, and trims the trees? Who drives to town for
groceries and transports the ill to the doctor or
A healthy community needs a population with a
distributed age pattern. A grocery store sure doesn't
The area is also in desperate need of a licensed
carpenter, plumber, and electrician. Skilled workers
from Raton are loathe to travel to the Folsom area
because of the distance and inconvenience.
There are a few ranching jobs around, some of which pay
about $1200 per month with a house provided.
Oh, and did you read the part above about the pink
lungs? If you didn't, then quit skipping stuff.
It's gonna be really hard for you to keep up and we
don't like stragglers in these parts.
There ARE jobs available for those willing to commute
for a half hour to an hour. If you are accustomed to
similar commutes in the city, then driving through the
country unencumbered by crawling traffic will seem like
a piece of cake. Until winter comes. On a good
year, you'll have a little difficulty getting in to town
four or five times. On a bad year, you sometimes
won't make it.
Some businesses are reluctant to hire a person who must
commute from Folsom due to the fear that inclement
weather will cause excessive absence. How do you get
such a job?
Lie to them!!!
The end justifies the means, especially when the
alternatives are to starve to death or to move back to
the city so you can die with gray lungs. Tell
prospective employers that you plan to move to town if
you get the job. Then don't. Just figure out how to get
to work regardless of the weather. It also helps
if you are a really good employee.
Disclaimer: I myself would NEVER lie under any
circumstances yada, yada, yada...
Renting, or Building a House
There are rarely
houses for rent in the Folsom area that are anything
similar in quality to what can be found in larger towns.
Most are rather rundown and decrepit by the time they
become rental units.
There is usually a house or two for sale, but the prices
are often unreasonable. Unfortunately, people keep
buying them which serves to justify the prices (the law
of supply and demand sometimes sucks). Sadly, the most
common reason a house becomes available is due to death
of the resident. All too often these homes have been
neglected for some time.
The most difficult issue regarding buying or
building a house in the area has to do with
septic issues. If the septic system is not
up to code, it is virtually impossible to get a
loan although the house can be purchased with
The New Mexico Environmental Protection
Agency will expect the buyer to bring a newly
purchased house up to code. If you are
buying property on which to build a house, check
with the agency first to make sure you will have
enough area to meet the current requirements.
>>click here for more
Building a house can be difficult due to the limited
number of local licensed contractors. Building a house
with local labor can cost $50-$60 per square foot.
Contractors from Albuquerque will cost of $80-$90 per
Due to the cost and incredible logistic difficulties,
North Eastern New Mexico is truly the...
Land of the
Yes, the "Land of Enchantment" has a very high density
of trailer houses - popularly renamed as "modular homes"
or "manufactured homes" in recent years. Admittedly,
they are of higher quality nowadays - thicker walls,
nicer exteriors, better finish materials.
The key to making your "manufactured home" look better
is to build on to it. The limited and distinctive
rectangular shape of manufactured homes make them easily
identifiable. Add a porch, deck, garage, or addition to
break up the outline and the look of the home will
change entirely. Many manufactured homes are now
available with high peaked roofs which also improve
their overall appearance.
One small caveat with manufactured homes in the area
(and perhaps in all of New Mexico) is that building
codes require that you place concrete runners to support
the trailer. These runners are not as expensive as a
continuous perimeter foundation, but they do drive the
If you buy a used trailer house, you must move it. This
is not as easy as some might think because there are
only a handful of decent house movers in the area.
Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico, only lists
three movers in the Yellow Pages.
|House Movers for North Eastern
EGSM Inc (505-842-8981)
moves a lot of modular homes from Albuquerque
and they can travel into southern Colorado.
Western Structural (505-897-2800)
can move double wide trailers as one piece. This
is especially nice for used homes which have
already been assembled. Breaking them down and
re-assembling them often results in an imperfect
installation at best.
New Mexico Building Codes
Unfortunately, the New Mexico state government
responded to a long history of problems with building
standards with a knee jerk reaction. The entire state of
New Mexico is now covered by the 1997 Uniform Building
Code* as a minimum building standard. You have to get
permits and inspections for new homes, additions,
remodeling, storage buildings, and garages. You might
can build a dog house without a permit, but only if
it's not too fancy.
* need to verify this - it may have
You can do your own construction, plumbing, and
electrical work. If you choose to do your own
construction, you must sign a waiver which basically
states that you admit that you are a total idiot for
attempting to build your own house and that you accept
and understand that many bad things can happen. You must
still get a permit and have your work inspected at
various intervals. To do your own electrical work, you
must go to Santa Fe and pass a competency test.
If you hire people to help you, you must get a federal
Employer ID Number and pay the worker's social security
and Medicare taxes and withhold income tax. In addition,
if you do not carry Worker's Compensation insurance you
will be liable for any injuries. Some people erroneously
claim that you can call them "contract labor" and avoid
all of this. WRONG! They cannot
be "contract labor" for the purpose of construction,
plumbing, or electrical work without a valid New Mexico
contractor's license. The alternative is to pay them
cash and hope you don't get caught.
You can hire licensed contractors to do part of the
work. Those contractors must obtain permits for the work
they perform. If the contractors do not have Worker's
Compensation, YOU are personally liable for injuries
their workers may incur while working on your property -
I'm not making this up! This rule also applies if you
hire contractors to build the entire house.
New Mexico does add some extra standards to the code,
mostly regarding "straw bale" and "adobe" housing. The
code disallows the use of such walls as support
structures, so you can only use them for their
insulation value. This pretty much negates any
significant cost savings because you still have to build
a wooden framework - now you just get to fill it with
straw or mud.
For more information on building codes in New Mexico,
try these site(s):
By the way, a copy of the 1997 Uniform Building Code is
NOT available on the website. There are three volumes to
the code, each one costing between $80 - $100. You
probably only need Volume II for the purposes of
building a house. It can be found most easily on the
Internet. Used copies can sometimes be found on
Amazon.com, but the price savings is not that great. It
is available on cd-rom as well, but that's not much
Try these sources for the 1997 Uniform Building Code:
Folsom does not have a community
sewage disposal system. The township narrowly voted
against applying for a state grant to build such a
system. Many people did not want to pay $30.00 per month
for water and sewage service. Instead, they get to put
in their own systems for many thousands of dollars and
experience the sheer joy of maintaining a crap
processing system. They are a fiercely independent
lot out here!
Since there is no public sewage system, there are three
- septic tank with leach field
- mini processing tank with spray system
- collection tank which must be emptied
The New Mexico Environmental Protection Agency is in
charge of enforcing rules and regulations regarding
Septic Tank with Leach Field
For the most popular option, the leach field system, you
must have approximately 1/2 acre of land to disperse
your sewage for a typical 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home.
The sewage is first collected in a 1250 gallon concrete
septic tank where the solids are trapped. The homeowner
must periodically add a bacterial agent of some sort to
the system which will break down the solids. A box of
this agent called Rid-X (yup, same name as the lice
killer) can be purchased from the Raton K-Mart for about
$7.00. The instructions on the box recommend a new box
be added each month.
A series of baffles in the septic tank prevent the
solids from flowing out to the leach field. The leach
field can be either a perforated pipe running through a
buried bed of gravel or a series of "infiltrators".
Infiltrators are semi-circular plastic arches installed
in the ground with the open side down. The liquid runs
into the infiltrators and soaks into the ground. The
number of infiltrators required depends on the number of
bedrooms and bathrooms in the house and the ability of
the ground to soak up water. This ability is determined
with a "leach test" - two 5 foot deep holes are dug in
the ground about 50 feet apart and filled with water.
The amount of time for the water to dissipate determines
the leach rate. A slower dissipation rate will require
Water from the bathroom sinks, bathtub, shower, and
washing machines can be dispersed right on the ground so
long as it does not result in standing water. Dispersing
the water in this manner instead of through the septic
system helps to avoid saturation of the leach field.
The leach field method has its drawbacks, the most
obvious being the amount of land required. The leach
field must be 100 feet from any existing well, whether
the well is on your property or on neighboring land. The
septic tank must be 5 feet inside the property line. If
the tank is within 50 feet of a well, it must be "leak
tested" by filling it with water and looking for leaks.
The tanks often leak - three tanks were tried at one
installation and all leaked. The last had to be hand
caulked from inside to solve the problem - and that tank
had been assembled and tested at the manufacturer's
facility before installation.
The price of a 1250 gallon septic tank as of December
2003 is about $800.00. For a very simple system where
the tank and leach field can be laid out near the house,
you can expect to pay $3,000 to $5,000. Not so simple
systems such as those that require more infiltrators,
longer pipe runs, or digging through rock can cost
$10,000 or more. Get a written quote from your
contractor before starting work - $6,000 systems can
become $10,000 systems in a hurry.
Installing a septic system requires a licensed
contractor, of which none seem to exist. As the
homeowner, however, you can install one "yourself". You
can then get "help" from somebody who knows what the
Hell they are doing but is unlicensed. Ask around town
and you will quickly find out who can "help" you.
The rules and regulations are constantly changing. To
get things started, contact the EPA office in Raton at
Mini Processing Tank with Spray System
For landowners with too much stuff and not enough
land, there is an alternative. These are small tanks
which process the sewage with chemicals and stirring
action - the resulting waste water can be used for
The major drawbacks to this system are the necessity to
add chemicals and the mechanical moving parts which can
break down. Of course, none of the leach field
installers are particularly enamored with this system.
You'll have to decide for yourself. One example of these
devices is the Multi-Flo, a brochure for which can be
obtained by calling 1-800-HELP NOW.
Contact the EPA office in Raton at
505-445-3621 for information and advice.
Collection Tank Which Must be Emptied Periodically
This would have to be the absolute last choice. Having a
collection tank emptied is not cheap, and who knows what
the fellows who empty it do with the resulting treasure.
Such fellows are not all that common and even less
reliable. This method might cost you $200 per month or
There is a "grandfather clause", be it official or
unofficial, that allows an existing septic system to be
used until it requires repair. So you can use an
existing system until it clogs up and you need to dig it
up or repair it, at which time you are supposed to
install a government approved system. It behooves one to
do any digging in the middle of the night.
Update: the grandfather clause may have passed
>>Click here before buying a house or property!
In any case, policy enforcement seems to be sadly
lacking. While you are installing your permitted,
approved, $10,000 system, your neighbor may be putting
in his own cheaper version whilst skipping a lot of
hassle by filling out nary a form. Chances are that your
neighbor is going to be quite happy with his system and
several thousand dollars richer. Until he tries
to sell his house!
I recommend that you follow ALL rules and regulations
regarding sewage disposal. Besides, digging at night is
a leading cause of shoe-poo syndrome.
Safe Drinking Water
As with the community sewage
disposal system, Folsom also voted against creating a
municipal water system as well. Oddly enough, the EPA
does not seem to get involved when a water well is
drilled in the Folsom area. It has been reported that
water wells in the Raton area are regulated as strictly
as are sewage systems. It is unknown if the Folsom area
is overlooked due to a lack of interest or a lack of
coverage by regulations.
*Update: the water table in the area is now regulated
-- permits should be obtained before drilling any wells.
Most of the area in Folsom proper has a water pocket at
a depth of 23 to 25 feet. A lot of the older wells tap
into this pocket. Unfortunately, many people claim that
this water is contaminated by all of the sewage leach
fields because of the shallow depth. Others are just as
adamant that their shallow wells are uncontaminated.
Water test results across the community have been
inconsistent, so absolute proof has yet to be provided
as of this time.
A second layer of water can be reached at a depth of
approximately 100 feet in most areas of the community.
It is generally agreed that this water is pure. Most
well drillers in the area charge about $12 per foot with
a 100 foot minimum, so it makes sense to drill down to
the deep water. It's the extras that get you -
especially if your well requires steel casing to prevent
collapse. In 2003, an 80 foot well with steel
casing and a well pit with a pump and pressure tank cost
In addition to the well and well pit, a pump and
pressure tank are required. For 25 foot wells, a surface
pump can be used. For anything deeper, a submersible
pump must be used. This type of pump hangs at the bottom
of the pipe leading down into the well. The pump is
actually submerged in the well water. Make sure that
your driller "ties off" your pump. This involves tying
one end of a rope or cable to the pump and the other end
to something solid in the well pit. Sometimes the pump
can fall off of the pipe or be blown off by a lightening
strike. When this happens, it is nearly impossible to
retrieve the pump if it has not been "tied off" and a
new one will have to be installed at a cost of $600 or
The pressure tank is usually located in the well pit. It
is a metal tank with an air filled rubber bladder in one
end and a reservoir for water on the other end. The pump
will fill the reservoir and the water will compress the
bladder until a specific pressure is reached at which
time the pump will turn off. When a tap is turned on in
the house, the pressure from the bladder will force the
water down the pipe. The pump will not turn on again
until the pressure in the tank decreases to a specific
pressure - the turn on pressure is lower than the turn
off pressure. By using the pressure tank to supply force
for the water the pump does not have to turn on every
time water is drawn, extending the life of the pump.
This also reduces the delay between the time a tap is
opened and the appearance of water pressure. If water is
drawn for a longer time, such as for a shower, the pump
may turn on and stay on for the duration.
Piping must be layed between the well pit and the house
for the main water feed. This should be buried at least
3 feet underground to prevent freezing. A popular type
of piping now used is called "PEX". It is a special
flexible polycarbonate hose which is more resistant to
bursting due to freezing since it can expand more easily
than metal piping. It is usually cheaper to have a house
plumbed with PEX because it is easily cut to length,
coiled for easy transport, and bends around corners. The
fittings are crimped on the ends with a special tool,
reducing or even eliminating the need for soldering.
PEX is available at the ACE Hardware in Raton and they
will loan you the crimping tool. If you wish to buy one,
the tool costs between $400 and $500.
When drilling a well into the deeper water table, the
well driller is supposed to provide a cement "seal"
around the pipe between the upper and lower water
tables. This is to prevent the upper water table from
draining down into the lower and thereby contaminating
it as well. Unfortunately, each driller uses a different
method and there is some concern that a well will be or
already has been drilled which has or will cause cross
contamination between the two water tables. Ask your
well driller about his method of sealing to be sure that
he understands that this is an issue of which he should
be cognizant. Of course, many locals will frown on
you questioning anyone about their methods. That's
just a risk you take.
Household Waste Disposal
The city of Folsom
provides 5 dumpsters for use by city residents. These
are not for use by county residents and they are locked.
The city also provides a roll-off dumpster for larger
items. In 2010, the cost was $100/year to use both
and $50/year for just the roll-off. County
residents can pay to use the roll-off -- just another
neighborly service provided by your village gubment!
The dumpsters are maintained and emptied by Tri-State
Waste from Texline at a cost of $50 per month per
dumpster. If you are a county resident or a Folsom
resident who wants their own dumpster, Tri-State Waste
can provide you with one.
Tri-State Waste can be contacted at
806-362-4828. Their address is
Highway 296 East
Texline, TX 79087
Construction Waste Disposal
A lot of
properties in Folsom have an abandoned building which is
beyond repair or have the remains of such a building.
Disposing of the debris seems to be a mystery to most
residents, as is evident from the copious amount
decorating the township.
Raton's dump does NOT want your trash or debris. The
fellow at the city office told me that quite clearly.
Although I got different prices from different people,
he quoted a price of $40 per ton for those who are not
residents for Raton. They will take your tires for $1
each. >>click here
for Tire & Battery Disposal info*
* this has surely changed by now and may not even be
available -- double-check before you drive!
The Clayton landfill is a bit more understanding, and
will take your refuse at $5.50 per cubic yard. The
volume of your waste is estimated by a worker at the
landfill. What they will and will not take is not
clearly explained, even over the telephone. Household
waste, tree branches, grass clippings, wood, glass,
nails, and similar construction material are okay, but
they do not want tires, batteries, cars, or car body
* this has surely changed by now and may not even be
available -- double-check before you drive!
The procedure is to drive out to the dump and look for a
tractor moving garbage. The tractor driver will tell you
where to dump, usually right in front of his tractor
while he watches. He will estimate the volume and record
it along with your name, which he will later report to
the office. You should call the office and give them
your billing address in case the tractor driver fails to
do so or records it improperly. You can make things a
bit easier by having your name and address written on a
piece of paper so you can just hand it to the driver.
You will later receive a bill in the mail.
If the wind is blowing, the dump will not be open and
the gate will be closed. If it is blowing much at all, I
recommend that you choose another day if you have to
unload by hand. Even a slight wind will result in
choking sand and dust, making the unloading process
quite unpleasant. If you arrive around lunch time and
the gate is closed with a sign saying "Closed due to
Wind", come back later. Apparently that is the only sign
they have, so it is used for lunch breaks, etc.
For more information and for directions to the dump,
call Clayton City Office at
505-374-8331. The city office is located at 1
If you have a lot of construction debris, it may be more
economical to purchase the use of a "roll-off" dumpster.
A "roll-off" dumpster is one of those dump truck bed
sized rectangular containers often seen near
construction sites. The disposal company drops one off
at your site and picks it back up when you are done with
Tri-State Waste will provide you with a "roll-off"
container for $400 per dump. You get 30 days to fill the
container between dumping - if you take longer than 30
days, there is a $5 per day surcharge.
* this has surely changed by now and may not even be
available -- double-check before you drive!
Click here for the address and phone number for
Metal & Vehicle Disposal
You can dump metal junk
off at the dump at the east edge of Raton. The
stuff can be dumped outside the gate after hours.
Tire & Battery Disposal
Check with the Folsom
clerk regarding the latest rules regarding tire disposal
in the roll-off. Batteries are never supposed to
be disposed of in a dumpster or roll-off.
Most towns the size of Raton can receive batteries
for a small fee. Contact the Raton or Clayton
clerk for the latest policies.
Electrical service to the area
is provided by Springer Electric Cooperative or . All
users of the service must join the cooperative. Some
cooperatives pay the members a small amount back - the
members are more or less the owners of the company.
As of December 2003, I could not find the cost per KWH
listed anywhere on my bill. Apparently, I have rate "1",
which refers to residential service. Using my calculator
(or you can go to their website), I found the cost to be
8.54 cents per KWH. I'm not sure how much ink they are
saving by not printing the rate on the bill, but I hope
it's worth it.
For more information, go to
http://www.springercoop.com or call them at
There are several options for propane service. The
closest is probably Arthur Propane in Des Moines. They
will provide a propane tank free of charge so long as
you use a minimum amount of propane each month.
Installation is extra - they will set the tank, run
about 50 feet of line underground, and make the
connections for about $400. As of December 2010, the
rate for propane was ???? per gallon if you paid with a
check upon delivery. It's 5 cents per gallon more if you
don't pay immediately.
You can contact Arthur Propane at
Their mailing address is:
Des Moines, NM 88418
There are other propane services which operate out of
nearby towns. One of these is Pendleton Oil & Gas
Co. of Raton.
to visit their website
How much are you going to spend on electricity and gas?
It depends on your house, the time of the year, and the
weather. Your costs can be quite minimal for April
through November, especially if you don't use the air
conditioner - perhaps as low as $40 per month for
electricity and the same for gas. Unfortunately, the
area has been experiencing hotter than normal summers
with temperatures approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you live in one of the old rock houses in the area,
your winter costs can be astronomical. Contrary to
popular myth, rock is NOT a good insulator. Neither are
logs in a log cabin for that matter. Since the
construction of these houses makes the addition of
insulation virtually impossible, energy costs can be
quite high. In December, $400 for gas and $150 for
electricity in one month is not unheard of. New houses
with proper insulation will have significantly lower
Landline phones, dial-up
Internet, and DSL are provided by
Telephone. This is a locally owned business
and they have very good service.
>>click here to
visit their website
Baca Valley can also provide you with cell phone
service. Alternatively, service can be contracted
for in Raton.
Cellular Wireless Internet can be obtained in Raton.
Baca Valley will provide satellite Internet service if
you live too far away from a DSL connection point.
Verizon definitely works in the Folsom area, and
Sprint should as well.
The school for kids in the area is in Des Moines. The
school was recently remodeled with a South West motif
and is very nice. The average size for each grade is 10
students. That's the entire grade, not just one class.
Thus the student teacher ratio is about 1 to 10 or
better. There are plenty of computers and equipment, and
all grades Kindergarten through twelfth are in the same
The best thing about the Des Moines school is that the
teachers are not overwhelmed by having too many
students. Whereas in the larger cities up to 20% of the
children may be on Ritalin at the advice of the school,
I'm not sure Des Moines even knows about Ritalin. A very
large percentage of the students go on to college.
The mascot for Des Moines is the "Demons". The lady
Demons have won the state championship in volleyball for
their division for the last three years and the
basketball championship for the last two - they are
working on the third for that as well. The boys
have an equally impressive record. Football, baseball
and soccer are not currently played at Des Moines.
For more information, call the school at
505-278-2611 or visit their
If you wish for more sport or educational
opportunities, you can enroll your children in the Raton
or Clayton school system. It is about a
forty-fifty minute drive either way, which is not a
problem if you already commute to work in one of those
towns. If not, you can usually meet up with the
school bus which comes in the Folsom direction and save
yourself fifteen or twenty miles.
Both Clayton and Raton schools do field
football, basketball, and baseball teams.
Restaurants, Movies, and other Entertainment
restaurant situation changes faster than a pit bull's
disposition. You're just gonna have to ask around
on this one. Better yet, try 'em all! It's
the darndest thing - one person will just love
restaurant xyz and the next person will claim they get
food poisoning every time they go there.
There are four movie theaters in the area:
- Movie Picture Showhouse, Trinidad, 1 hour drive,
- El Raton, Raton, 40 minute drive, 1 screen,
- Fox Theatre, Trinidad, 1 hour drive, 1 screen,
- Luna Theatre, Clayton, 50 minute drive, 1
screen, historic venue*
* historic venue means old, quaint and interesting.
extra points if it's spelled "theatre" instead of
The El Raton installed a top-o-the-line digital 3D
projector in 2010. At the time, it was probably
the only one between Albuquerque and Denver. It's
so fancy that you don't even get to keep the eye
There are bars and dance spots in Raton. Some
are a little on the rough side. Expect to be the
subject of drama, love triangles, and gossip.
Keep your eyes peeled for random events scheduled in
the area featuring local bands, rodeo cowboys, or school
kids performing Macbeth. Basketball and volleyball
games are always the cat's meow.
Git yourself a satellite TV dish and some microwave
Drive. Stop. Smell. Touch.
It's like an adventure movie.