Commissioners reject Milnesand center

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer

The Roosevelt County Commission has declined to accept ownership of the Milnesand Community Center.

Commissioners voted unanimously on the issue at their meeting Tuesday morning in the county courthouse.

Members of the Milnesand community had asked the county to take ownership of the center so the county would pay for liability insurance. Now, the center has none.

After the meeting, County Manager Charlene Hardin said other community centers in the county provide their own insurance and the Milnesand facility has its own money.

If the county owned the center and allowed only Milnesand residents free use, it could violate the state anti-donation law, according to County Attorney Rick Queener and Hardin.

Additionally, all county residents would have to be allowed free use if Milnesand residents were, Queener said.
Commission chairman David Sanders said if the county took ownership of one center, it would have to do the same for all communities.

“And we’re not really in the business of owning community centers,” he said.

George Hay of Milnesand said the building had been on the county insurance list for some time. However, Hardin said the county never insured the center because it can’t insure what it doesn’t own even though the building was on the list.

In another matter, commissioners approved an agreement with Continental Prison Systems to install an automated system to handle inmates’ money at the Roosevelt County Detention Center.

Now, jail administrator David Casanova said, detention center staff members must take care of the money by hand. With the EZ Card and kiosk system, he said, inmates would feed their money into the kiosk when they came into the center and receive a debit card for the money when they left.

Casanova said families could deposit money into inmates’ accounts at a kiosk as well.

The equipment would be free for the county, and inmates would pay a surcharge to deposit the money, he said.
“The inmates will ultimately pay for it,” Casanova said of the equipment.

Hardin said the system would help eliminate problems from human error and resolve issues auditors had disliked with the current procedure.

At their meeting, commissioners also:

• Tabled a franchise agreement with Southwestern Public Service Co. until Queener could speak with a company representative.

• Passed a resolution opposing a petition from the New Energy Economy environmental group that would call for greenhouse gas emissions in New Mexico to be reduced to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. According to the resolution, that standard would cause economic problems without providing meaningful environmental benefits.
The New Mexico Environment Improvement Board is expected to take public comment on the proposed standard, according to the resolution.

• Heard Hardin say she expected to have a proposed dog-at-large ordinance at the next commission meeting, scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 16.