Commission wants poles moved

By Mike Linn

Three utility poles in the middle of a quiet, heat-baked dirt road a few miles south of Portales create what county officials say is a dangerous maze for automobile traffic.
So at Tuesday’s Roosevelt County Commission meeting county, officials said they want Roosevelt County Electric Cooperative to move the poles out of the roadway.
An official at RCEC said Tuesday afternoon they own an easement where the poles have rested since the mid-40s, long before the county road existed.
Jerry Partin, general manager of RCEC, said he has no problem moving the poles, but he would like something in return from the county.
The poles are stationed about 100 yards apart on South Roosevelt Road S 1/2, the last one acting as a towering median at the T-shaped intersection of South Roosevelt Road 8.
County Administrator Charlene Hardin said she struck a deal with the rural electric suppliers late Tuesday afternoon, and that Partin said he would have the poles moved in a few days.
Hardin said the county will probably offer some sort of in-kind services for RCEC as incentive for moving the posts.
Partin noted that the posts have been in the middle of the road for more than 10 years, and to his knowledge there have been no accidents.
Even so, county officials expressed concern about possible lawsuits that may arise in the event of an accident.
“What if a drunk driver kills himself crashing into one of those poles, and he has small children in his car?” County Attorney Randy Knudson asked. “This could get bad.”
Partin noted that moving the poles would take about two days.
Also at the meeting:
l County officials will seek requests for proposals for a new telephone services vendor for the Roosevelt County Detention Center.
Jail Administrator Jesse Luera said family members of inmates have complained that phone rates are extremely high. Luera said telephone prices could be as high as $2.38 a minute, but family members of inmates say the price is near $5 a minute.
Either way, Luera said better prices are probably available.
l Luera also introduced the county’s new assistant jail administrator, Bennie Martinez, who was started work on July 21.
Martinez has 13 years in the business, Luera said.