Lopez named new county chairman

Tony Parra

A move at the top of the board, the purchase of a 2003 Chevy Blazer and $150,000 for small-county assistance were among the top issues discussed in Tuesday’s Roosevelt County Commission meeting.
During the beginning of the meeting there was a change at the top when Dennis Lopez was chosen as the new chairman of the Roosevelt County Commission, unanimously, and Gene Creighton was selected as the vice chairman.
“Every year we elect a chairman and vice chairman,” newly appointed Lopez said. “It’s the first order of business. I will be presiding over every meeting and I will take the lead in signing off on any resolutions. I act for the board in different community functions.”
Chad Davis was the previous chairman and Lopez was the previous vice chairman. Lopez has served in previous meetings as chairman in Davis’ absence.
Roosevelt County Administrator Charlene Hardin presented the 2004 commission meeting schedule with changes to meeting dates due to conflicts with elections. Hardin informed the group that the Jan. 20 commission meeting was pushed back to Jan. 27 because Roosevelt County officials will be in Santa Fe on Jan. 20-21 for the New Mexico Association of Counties’ meeting.
County commissioners Paul Grider and Gene Creighton also stated that they will not be able to attend the Jan. 27 council meeting because they will be in Santa Fe for state Legislature on Jan. 27-28.
County officials also voted to contract Mike Miller and David Sanders as lobbyists for the 2004 year.
“They will lobby on behalf of the Roosevelt County to monitor the state Legislature and track capital outlay requests,” Lopez said. “What we get back from them is much greater than what we pay them.”
Miller was paid $8,763 for his services and Sanders was paid an estimate of $1,200 for his services last year, according to Hardin.
Roosevelt County rejected a bid for the purchase of a Roosevelt County vehicle. There was one bid Hamilton Big Country for a 2003 Chevy Blazer which costs $28,000 after all interest paid. Hardin stated that some times she receives a $300 monthly allowance for a vehicle.
“You know I’ve supported you in getting a vehicle for a long time,” Tom Clark, county commissioner, said. “I don’t believe there is a need for the vehicle to be a Chevy Blazer. I don’t see the good in it.”
The county commission decided to have Hardin look into state contract rates, bids from other dealerships and other options. Hardin would use the vehicle in rough terrain during road closure inspections among other duties.
The Roosevelt County commission also discussed the urgency of contacting state legislators and representatives on house bill 229. It was drafted to increase cash allocations to small counties but it requires that counties with a property value over $200 million have to have three general gross receipts taxes in place by July 1 to receive money from the state.
Roosevelt County has a property value of $204 million. The county did not qualify for the assistance because it didn’t have a 1/8 tax increment in place.