Officials take new approach

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Roosevelt County governmental entities and area state legislators took a new approach toward capital outlay requests this year as they brought the various entities together for the first time at the Memorial Building in Portales Tuesday to present their requests all in one day.

In previous years each entitity has scheduled individual meetings or has submitted requests through the mail and by phone. This year the idea was to bring all the entities together into one central location, said Mike Miller, moderator of the event and Portales city councilor.

According to Miller, the legislators leave their livelihoods and travel to these type of meetings at their own expense. By combining forces, all involved save time and money.

“It’s an effort to bring everyone together to hear requests in one day,” said Miller.

Portales City Manager Debi Lee felt that holding the forum in Portales would be beneficial to all parties involved. The format for the forum has been used in other counties throughout New Mexico, she said.

“I think it’s a benefit to bring everyone together,” said Lee. It helps to hear what everyone else is working for, so we can try to help each other out.”

Asking for over $6 million in capital outlay, the city of Portales was represented at the meeting by Lee and Portales Mayor Orlando Ortega.

The main priority for the city is street improvements. Water improvements, equipment and funding for the swimming pool renovation were also on the city’s list for funding.

Though the city is asking for a considerable amount of money, Lee said that officials know upfront that they would more than likely not receive the entire amount requested. Instead the list shows the needs and a priority for those needs.

On Roosevelt County’s agenda, presented by Administrator Charlene Hardin and County Commission Chairman Dennis Lopez, were requests for five different priorities, said Hardin.

Topping the list is a request for funding to improve roads in the county. Hardin stated that due to the heavy truck traffic from dairies and other sources, the roads are feeling the effects of heavy traffic.

Requests from other entities ran the gamut — from water system improvements to fire fighting equipment for county towns to building repairs and new vehicles for some of the schools.

Sitting on the legislative panel were Sen. Stuart Ingle, Sen. Gay G. Kernan, Rep. Brian K. Moore and Rep. Keith J. Gardner. All told the PNT they liked the new format.

“I think it’s a really good format, we get to hear from everyone,” said Ingle.

Senator Kernan agreed with Ingle, saying she’s familiar with the format which has been used in Lea and Chaves counties.

“It’s a great opportunity to come face to face,” said Kernan.

Though the requests outweigh the money that will be available, holding the forum helps to establish what is needed in the county, said Moore.

“It’s another way to be involved in the community and a chance for them to see us,” said Moore.