Citizens concerned about county roads

By Tony Parra

Not everyone is happy with the amount of rain Roosevelt County has received. The rain, coupled with a heavy amount of traffic on some roads, have caused some roads to be impassable, according to some county residents.
County commissioner Tom Clark declared the situation an emergency during Tuesday’s county meeting as a result of the road people have to live near, school buses have to travel on and emergency vehicles have to come through.
The declaration of emergency state could bring financial assistance from state and federal governments, according to Clark.
The traffic on the wet roads has caused 16-inch ruts which have caused vehicles to get stuck, splattered vehicles and their engines with mud and caused some residents to drive on the ditch just to travel on Roosevelt County Road 3.
“We have business owners, truck drivers, dental assistants, managers, police officers, school teachers and farmers — to name a few of your members — that pay taxes on this county road,” Nkoshe Seales, a resident who drives on the road, said.
“The roads are not sufficient or adequate roads,” Seales added. “You as commissioners are authorized and empowered to see and obtain from the United States government, financial aid and assistance to fix the roads.”
The commissioners listened from various other residents as each gave testimony to the damage it is doing to their vehicles and the fact that emergency vehicles may not be able to go to some of the homes located off of Roosevelt County Road 3.
“We just want the roads to be fixed,” Sue Damon said. “We don’t want to fight. I’ve driven down the road for over 30 years. This year was the first time I haven’t been able to. You were voted (in) to help the people.”
Chairman Dennis Lopez told the residents they will address the problem as soon as possible. He said the commissioners will get together with Road Superintendent Jackie Grimes to decide what they need to do, such as blade it or use caliche patches.
District 2 Commissioner Chad Davis stressed his displeasure with the amount of money going to his district for road repairs. According to a document from the county treasurer and assessor, District 2 residents pay $402,238 on taxes but received only 12 percent of that total for road repairs. The percentage is smaller than Districts 5 ($297,037 in taxes paid, 26 percent of that total used on road repairs), 3 ($38,438, 32 percent) and 4 ($19,844, 30 percent).
Commissioners also selected roads as the top priority for legislation and road equipment as the second most important legislative priority. The third priority was funding for Sheriff’s Department vehicles and fourth was funding for the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds.
In other business at Tuesday’s meeting:
— Jeffrey Marks, executive vice president of Padoma Wind Power, spoke to commissioners and they agreed to go into negotiations for Padoma Wind Power to go through the county on a $130 million Industrial Revenue Bond.
Marks said investors would fund the project to keep it tax-free, but the county would facilitate the program. Jeffrey Fuchs, Padoma Wind Power senior vice president of project development, said the company is projected to break ground on the wind farm in May and have it commercially operational by November of 2005.
— Commissioners also struck an inter-governmental agreement with the Bailey County (Texas) Detention Center for housing prisoners. Roosevelt County Detention Center officials currently transfer inmates to Dickens County (Texas) to compensate for inmate overpopulation.