By Tony Parra
Roosevelt County commissioners had been discussing the idea of imposing tax increments because of budget deficiencies, and on Tuesda decided to take the first step in the process.
Commissioners said they will take the first step in the process by publicizing the notice of intent.
Roosevelt County plans for a first 1/8 tax increment for the general fund and second 1/8 tax increment for indigent claims, according to Roosevelt County Administrator Charlene Hardin.
Commissioners approved a preliminary budget, which Hardin said must be sent to the state department by June 1. The finalized budget must be in by July 31.
The amount of revenue generated from taxes actually went down from $2.8 million to $2,727,711, according to the budget report from last year to this year. However, expenditures continue to climb with departments asking for $3,903,000 in the initial budget.
The budget has been trimmed since then, but county officials said they will still need to go into their reserves to make up the difference. A budget report showed if commissioners implemented a third 1/8 increment and a 1/16 corrections increment, revenue would be $3,362,711 instead of $2,727,711.
One of the departments which has made the biggest hikes in expenses is the Roosevelt County Detention Center. There is a 25 percent increase in department expenses to compensate for the high number of prisoners.
“There should be a deterrent to keep people from going to jail,” Commissioner Gene Creighton said. “That’s a big increase in expenses. I don’t know what we could do about it.”
Roosevelt County Detention Center Administrator Jesse Luera estimated a cost of $35 to take care of each prisoner. Roosevelt County Sheriff Tom Gossett said he puts inmates to work and Roosevelt County Commissioner Tom Clark said overcrowding has actually helped create anoter deterrent.
“There are inmates who are transferred to Spur, Texas and that acts as a deterrent,” Clark said. “Family members are unable to visit them and inmates are rotated so that it’s not unfair for them.”
Commissioners also decided to have Pat Jareguiberry, who works for the United States Department of Agriculture and provides wildlife services, work fulltime for the county instead of working with Roosevelt and Curry County. Jareguiberry said he was able to get rid of 194 coyotes in a previous meeting.
Commissioners debated whether to have the service at all. Commissioner Paul Grider expressed concerns over Jareguiberry. Grider wants to make sure Jareguiberry is providing wildlife services for Roosevelt County and not extending down into Chavez County at Roosevelt County’s expense.
“I have people call me every month for help (with wildlife services),” Roosevelt County Extension Agent Floyd McAlister said.
The commission also decided to move their next meeting from June 8 to June 4. They said the reason is to hold the meeting after a canvas for the Roosevelt County Commissioner candidates.