Commissioners dispute where road funds should go

By Tony Parra

In his last meeting as a District 2 commissioner Chad Davis made his presence felt.
Davis, the outgoing commissioner for District 2, proposed an amendment to change the way each district is funded for road repairs from state legislators and the state highway department.
Newly elected David Sanders will be the District 2 commissioner in January.
The previous system funded each district based on the miles of roads in each district.
Davis said the old system provided 33 percent funding for District 3, 31 percent funding for District 5, 24 percent funding for District 4, 12 percent for District 2 and nothing for District 1.
Under the new system, Districts 2, 3, 4 and 5 will each receive 25 percent of funding for road repairs from the state and District 1 will receive nothing. Davis said District 1 is in the city and there are few county roads to maintain.
The amendment passed with three votes for the amendment (Davis; Gene Creighton, District 4; Dennis Lopez, District 1) and two votes against (Tom Clark, District 3; Paul Grider, District 5).
“Road money should be appropriated to the districts with heavier traffic,” Davis said. “Those roads tear down faster. It’s a reasonable solution to split up the amount four (different) ways.”
Davis would have also agreed to dividing the road money according to tax revenue generated from property taxes. Under this plan, District 2 would have received more than half of the road money.
“We received 12 percent of road money last year, but 53 percent of the property tax revenue comes from District 2,” Davis said. “Something is wrong. We’ve had people come in (to county meetings) from my district to talk about the problem.”
Clark said the county should continue the per-mileage basis for funding and instead have 20 to 50 percent of the road funding set aside for an emergency road fund. He said this would eliminate road issues which need immediate repairs.
According to Clark, the state highway department bases the amount of road funding on the miles in the county, and said his district would be negatively impacted with the new system.
“The miles in my district would go to maintaining the roads in your district,” Clark said to Davis. “It’s taking money away from the people who live in my district. The system we have now is reasonable.”
In other business at the meeting:
—Commissioners awarded a request for a proposal to Engineers Inc. of Tucumcari to perform a feasibility study on a road located in Roosevelt County leading from Highway 70 north to the new Glanbia cheese plant. Southwest Construction of Melrose was the other bidder.
Clark was concerned with whether Curry County would pay to have the other mile leading to the new cheese plant road upgraded to handle the heavy truck traffic. Currently the portion in Curry County is chip sealed.
The proposed Roosevelt County cheese plant road would reach the county line, but another mile is needed in Curry County to reach the cheese plant. Clark wanted that point clarified with Curry County as soon as possible.
— Sharon Russell of Floyd went before the commissioners to see if they could help with the tumbleweed problem plaguing Roosevelt County residents. Russell said the tumbleweeds were stacked 10 to 15 feet high in some areas and that it took her an hour to clear a path approximately 20 feet to reach a house the family was leasing.
Russell said many of the tumbleweeds are coming from the Cannon Air Force bombing range.
— Roosevelt County Detention Center Administrator Jesse Luera reported all RCDC inmates are currently being housed in Roosevelt County. Some RCDC inmates were being transferred to detention centers in Texas.
An addition to the RCDC has increased its bed capacity from 59 to 86, according to Luera. Currently there are 70 RCDC inmates.