County commision discusses flood zone process

By Helena Rodriguez, PNT Staff Writer

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is mapping the entire county for an updated flood insurance plan and Roosevelt County commissioners wants to ensure residents are aware of any flood zone changes this time around.

According to County Manager, Charlene Hardin, FEMA will be gathering data over the next 30 days. Following that, they will begin compiling maps. A process of public hearings and appeals will then be held and then the county will have six months to comply with the National Flood Insurance Program.

During a county commission meeting on Tuesday morning, commissioners discussed the FEMA community partner agreement.

Wayne Victor who does rural addressing for the county, said, FEMA was getting together with county officials to identify needs in the county, particularly in areas prone to rain.

District 1 Commissioner Dennis Lopez questioned the appeals process and stressed the importance this time around of people being aware of public hearings.

“I tried to appeal after the fact the last time and it was a dead end,” Lopez said. “A lot of my constituents were hit and I got call after call about why they were required to have flood insurance. All of the hearings were publicized but a lot of people missed out on the meeting. I just asked that we be a part of that every step of the way.”

In other business the commission:

• Heard a report from Portales Fire Chief John Bridges concerning fire danger. Due to abnormal warm temperatures, low humidity, high winds and an abundance of dry, fine fuels, fire danger throughout eastern New Mexico is high and fire incidents are increasing daily, he said.

• Conducted a public hearing and approved a preliminary plat for the Gilman Subdivision which has an anticipated acreage of 8,437 acres. The subdivision is located two miles northwest of the Portales municipal limits. Chad Lydick of Lydick Engineers & Surveyors of Clovis told commissioners they are proposing having one point entry along with a frontage road. Commission Chairman, David Sanders asked Lydick to get back to the commission on estimated costs of the road.

• Heard a report to vacate 36 lots in a Southern Hills Subdivision. According to Hardin, alleys and streets in this subdivision have never been developed and the land will go back to being one tract of land.

• Heard a request from David Stone who spoke on behalf of the Portales High School Class of 1958 which will be celebrating its 50th high school reunion.

In honor of their golden anniversary, Stone, who graduated a year after that class, said members have requested, as a class project for their reunion, to have a memorial erected in honor of war veterans, specifically those who have died in combat. Stone said the group is aware of the Veterans’ Memorial at the Memorial Building, but they are requesting to erect one on the Roosevelt County Courthouse grounds.

Hardin said the group will have to get with the city to see what MainStreet plans are to redesign the courthouse area.

• Approved Resolution 08-08 supporting HR 5698 to remove inmate limitations on Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security benefits for persons in custody pending disposition of charges.

According to Lopez, many times inmates lose benefits and end up not even being found guilty of crimes they are charged with. As a result, the county ends up taking up the burden. With this resolution and house bill, inmates will not lose any state or federal benefits until they have actually been convicted of a crime.

• Learned from Hardin to expect a preliminary budget on the May 20 meeting agenda.