By Tony Parra
Roosevelt County representatives saw some big numbers come back for the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Department and the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds from capital outlay funds.
The total amount of money set aside for Roosevelt County from the house and senate is $983,000, but is still subject to Gov. Bill Richardson’s approval. Road improvements were listed as the top priority and legislators have allocated $325,000 for that purpose.
County commissioners requested $800,000 to meet the road repair needs.
Roosevelt County commissioner Dennis Lopez complimented officials from the sheriff’s department in their work in putting together a packet illustrating the need of new vehicles. Legislators were able to gain $233,000 for sheriff department vehicles. According to the 2004 Annual Report from the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Department, nine of the 17 vehicles have more than 100,000 miles.
Lopez said he tried to meet with all of the local representatives from March 11 to 13 in Santa Fe to stress the importance of funding.
“I really need to give our representatives a lot of gratitude,” Lopez said. “They’re the ones who are ultimately responsible for bringing in money to the county.”
Lopez said funding for the sheriff’s department wasn’t listed as one of the legislative priorities last year. He said the department didn’t receive any money from the 2004 legislative session.
Commissioners contracted Mike Miller as a lobbyist last year for the county for $12,500 for his work as a lobbyist in the 2005 legislation. Miller helped lobby for money for the county during the 2004 session, but stressed that it was the legislators who were responsible for bring in $635,000 to various projects for Roosevelt County.
Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales set aside $100,000 and Rep. Keith Gardner, R-Roswell, set aside $75,000 for road equipment. Commissioners had asked for $430,000 for road equipment purchases.
County officials also requested $560,000 for the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds and received $250,000 from Ingle and Gov. Bill Richardson.
Hardin said some of the money will be used in the expansion of the Roosevelt County Agriculture Extension Office. Lopez said another portion of the money will go towards finishing chip-seal work on the fairgrounds and renovating the bathrooms at the fairgrounds.
“Overall we did great,” Roosevelt County Administrator Charlene Hardin said. “We’re glad to get what we can.”
Lopez also shed more light on a $250,000 funding portion listed under New Mexico State Highway 70 truck by-pass. Lopez said Rep. Joe Campos, D-Santa Rosa, made the change so that the money would go towards street improvements in district one of the five districts in the county weeks ago.
Lopez said the money will go to curb and gutter improvements in the north part of Portales. He said the money was incorrectly titled as truck by-pass funding in the New Mexico Legislature Web site.