By Tony Parra
Roosevelt County commissioners were told Tuesday it would cost an estimated $2.6 million to build a 72-bed addition to the Roosevelt County Detention Center.
The proposed addition to the current 83-bed facility would be funded in part by a gross receipts tax increase of 1/16th of a cent that went into effect Jan. 1.
The tax will create approximately $113,000 in revenue per year to help offset the cost of an addition.
The tax increase amounts to 6 1/4 cents for each $100 spent at a Roosevelt County business.
Jail administrator Jesse Luera said the facility operates at close to capacity most of the time and the population has risen to as many as 92 inmates in the last four years.
During the meeting, commissioners instructed county administrator Charlene Hardin to solicit architect bids. Hardin said she will publish a request for proposals within the week.
Robert Calvani, principal in charge of NCA Architects of Albuquerque, said his estimate for a 10,710 square-foot addition to the RCDC includes the cost of additional prisoner cells, furniture and laundry equipment. The price would also include some remodeling of the existing facility.
Kevin Powers, a financial consultant for Dain Rauscher of Albuquerque, explained some of the options for additional funding options to the Commission, which included general obligation bonds and raising property taxes.
In other county business:
l Commissioners voted 4-1 to give an additional $11,783 from the county’s indigent fund to Roosevelt General Hospital officials for their sole community provider fund. Hospital Administrator James D’Agostino said the money from the county is used as the hospital’s first indigent care payment for the first quarter of the year.
D’Agostino said each year the county pays the first quarter and the hospital makes the remaining quarter payments. He said the federal government matches $3 for every $1 the hospital pays in the sole community provider fund.
Commissioners only approved to fund $40,777 of the original $52,560 requested in the Dec. 7 county meeting. County commissioner Tom Clark expressed concern that the sole community provider payment continues to go up each year, but the money set aside by the county for indigent care is not rising at a rate to continue to pay for higher costs. Clark said RGH is self-reliant enough to be able to pay for the other $11,783 out of the hospital’s budget, rather than the county’s indigent budget.
D’Agostino argued the county receives $486,000 from gross receipt taxes for indigent care and it is much more than hospital officials request. Clark argued the county’s money for indigent care is spent each year. Indigent care claims are made throughout the year for unpaid hospital bills.
Through the sole community provider fund, D’Agostino said the approximate $220,000 from the hospital ($52,560 of which will be from county’s indigent care budget) will be matched by the federal government to create approximately $880,000 toward the millions of dollars spent on indigent care bills.