County takes big insurance premium hit

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer

Although Roosevelt County is spending about $64,000 more than estimated this fiscal year, the county manager said the budget adjustment is smaller than in the past.

The Roosevelt County Commission approved mid-year budget adjustments Tuesday.

This year’s largest increase was $35,931for law enforcement liability insurance.

County Manager Charlene Hardin said the county faced a 30-percent rise in premiums primarily because of a payout two years ago in a civil lawsuit connected with the Gary Adkins case.

Adkins was convicted in 2006 of having sex with a Roosevelt County Detention Center inmate while he was a sheriff’s deputy.

The next highest increase was $20,000 in overtime pay. Hardin said the detention center was having trouble getting enough people, and employees worked overtime to compensate.

The total general fund increase was $63,500, and the road fund had an increase of $681 for property insurance, according to county information.

“Most of them are either maintenance or insurance,” Hardin said of the adjustments.

Hardin said adjustments in the recent past were greater, partially due to changing fuel prices.

In other business, commissioners:

• Approved the county Board of Registration appointments of Republican D’Shawn Osburn and Democrats Sammie McCain and Linda Uttaro. Alternates were Democrat Mark Paternoster and Republican Nancy Belcher.

• Approved an intent to amend the personnel ordinance with language clarifying the sick leave policy.

• Certified that the county is maintaining 1,273 miles of roads this year. Hardin said the number dropped by six-tenths of a mile from last year.

• Approved a July picnic with drawings for a total of $500 in free gas as a reward for county employees who attended Risk Awareness Program meetings regularly.

• Heard Portales Fire Chief John Bridges say the emergency mass notification system was operational, and had been sending phone calls from a 900 number.

• Heard Bridges say that after maneuvering a fire truck around the courthouse, he felt confident about being able to access it with the new parking arrangements.