County needs funds for repairs

Mike Linn

The Roosevelt County Commission is asking the New Mexico Legislature to appropriate almost $1.8 million for road improvements, road equipment and an array of projects to spruce up the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds and its nearby extension office.
The first two priorities include requests for $400,000 for two new road maintainers and another $400,000 for various projects on county roads.
Currently, the county has eight miles of road that are desperately in need of reconstruction and need double chip sealing, and seven miles of road needing single chip sealing, according to the priority summary.
Double chip sealing costs approximately $68,000 per square mile, while single chip sealing costs roughly $13,000 per square mile, the summary states.
County officials said they also need to replace two road maintainers that were built in the 1970s.
The third priority is a request for $905,000 for improvements at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds, which include a proposed expansion project to the pavilion and a new multi-purpose facility.
“The desire is to have a multi-purpose-type facility that would be available for a lot of different events throughout the year by a lot of different groups,” Roosevelt County Agriculture Extension Agent Floyd McAlister said.
In addition, McAlister said the steer and heifer barn at the fairgrounds was built in the 1950s and has aged beyond the point of repair.
“That building was built 50 years ago from used materials at the time,” McAlister said. “If the (summer) tornado had hit it instead of the Jake Lopez Building it would have scattered it all the way to Arch.”
The final priority is a request for $65,000 is for a meeting room addition to the Roosevelt County Extension Office.
Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, said he’ll attempt to follow the commission’s priority list to the best of his ability.
“I’ll sure try to get them some road repairs and equipment,” Ingle said.
“It’s really hard for me to say a really definite yes or a definite no on anything right now…”
The commission is also advertising for lobbyists to spend time in Santa Fe during the session, something Roosevelt County Commissioner Gene Creighton said is an invaluable asset in attaining funds.
Two years ago the commission did not hire a lobbyist and received $153,750 after the session for various projects. In 2003, the commission hired lobbyists Mike Miller, a Portales city councilman, and Arch resident David Sanders and received $310,000 after the session.
“I think they did a great job,” Creighton said. “Mike is probably the best professional lobbyist around here and David is good as well.”
Roosevelt County Administrator Charlene Hardin said attaining funds is only partially aided by hiring lobbyists.
“It depends on what money is there (at the state level); if they don’t have the money, they don’t have the money,” Hardin said.
For example, Harding said a few years ago no county received any state money for projects.
Ingle said it certainly doesn’t hurt for the commission to hire lobbyists.
“It certainly saves me some time, particularly when you’re talking about (bills started in) the other side of the legislature (House of Representatives),” he said.
Ingle represents all of De Baca County, a majority of Roosevelt County, about half of Curry County and about 25 percent of Chaves County.