Commissioners approve bid for detention center expansion

By Tony Parra

The Roosevelt County Commissioners made major steps towards the start of a multi-million dollar construction project which would almost double the capacity of the Roosevelt County Detention Center.

County commissioners during Tuesday’s county meeting awarded the construction bid to Wilson and Wilson Construction of Clovis for the addition to the RCDC. Wilson’s bid was for $2.547 million.

Nick Griego and Sons of Clovis bid $2.97 million to do the work and LCI 2 of Clovis bid $3.06 million. The expansion would add 72 beds to the 83-bed facility.

John Layman of NCA Architects recommended the county commissioners approve Wilson and Wilson Construction as the lowest bidder. The Roosevelt County commissioners awarded the architectural designing and planning bid to NCA Architects of Albuquerque last March for the project.
Commissioners also approved funding the project with a 20-year bond. Kevin Powers, a financial consultant for Dain Rauscher of Albuquerque, discussed the options of having a 15-year bond or a 20-year bond in place during Tuesday’s meeting.

“We’re fairly close to the bottom of interest rates,” Powers said. “We’re pretty close to an all-time low. There’s a better chance of them going up. I think it’s prudent to move forward with swiftness to lock onto rates.”

A 15-year bond would mean the annual debt service would be $306,000 and the approximate total debt cost would be $4.577 million. A 20-year bond would mean the annual debt service would be $255,000 with the approximate total debt service at $5.064 million.

Charlene Hardin, county administrator, said based on the current budget situation and operating on a tight budget she recommended the 20-year bond so the county would be paying $255,000 a year. Commissioners put in place a corrections tax on Jan. 1, 2005 to pay for the addition. However, the estimated revenue from the corrections tax each year would only be $239,746, according to Powers. This would leave about $15,000 to make up from other funds. The 20-year term would leave a difference of $66,000.

Tom Clark, county commissioner, supported Hardin’s recommendation and said it was a “very good line of thinking” in regards to the budget situation.

Roosevelt County Detention officers have been dealing with overcrowding at the detention center. Roosevelt County Detention Center Administrator Jesse Luera has reported inmate numbers between 70 and 96. Luera said the inmate population reached capacity at 96 inmates in January.

Luera said the population has decreased to 76 inmates as of Tuesday. Luera said the decrease allows detention officers to bring back nine inmates currently housed in the Dickens County (Texas) Detention Center.

Powers said the bonds could be sold after a public hearing at the March 7 county meeting and county officials could have the money by March 12 to proceed with the construction.

• Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Rick Short reported the addition of a new officer to the department, a K-9 narcotics dog. He said the dog is certified to detect meth, heroin, hash along with other drugs.