By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
A lenient fairgrounds facility rental policy has come to an end after county officials reported an increase in damage and problems.
County commissioners agreed to a $500 deposit in addition to hourly rental fees ranging from $3 to $12 depending on the building and purpose for usage. Youth organizations will still be allowed to use the buildings free of charge.
Roosevelt County Administrator Charlene Hardin told county commissioners at their regular meeting Tuesday that problems with damage and alcohol use at several facilities were getting out of hand. She said several years ago commissioners removed rental fees for the buildings as a service to citizens. She said the current $200 deposit alone was no longer enough to prevent misuse.
“We feel that perhaps if we start charging an hourly rate again there will be more accountability,” Hardin said.
Commissioner Dennis Lopez expressed his frustration with the situation, in particular a recent quinceñera and dance at the Jake Lopez
Building that had been rented for just a dinner. If a dance is planned, rules call for licensed security to be provided to prevent alcohol use and problems.
Lopez was doubtful adding rental fees alone would act as a deterrent.
“People are going to drink at these events,” Lopez said.
Commission Chairman Paul Grider said he would like to keep the deposit at $200 and reinstate the rental fees, rather than dropping the deposit and adding the fees as Hardin suggested.
“If that doesn’t work, then keep jacking it up,” Grider said.
Commissioner Gene Creighton upped the ante even further suggesting the deposit be $500 plus the rental fees.
After discussing fees for other public and private buildings in the area, commissioners agreed unanimously that Creighton’s suggestion was not out of line.
In other business commissioners:
• Appointed Commissioner Gene Creighton as its second representative on the Roosevelt County Community Development Corporation board. County Attorney Randy Knudson holds the other seat.
• Approved a summary review subdivision plat on a 40-acre parcel for Sam Rigsby and Arkie Kiehe that would set up four lots.
• Approved a memorandum of understanding with Community Services Center to become that non-profit’s fiscal agent.
• Renewed an agreement with USDA participating in its predator control program.
• Passed three resolutions accepting cooperative agreements with the New Mexico Department of Transportation, facilitating acceptance of road money from the state.
• Agreed, after an executive session, to offer David Stone, owner of the B&J Drug building at 116 and 118 S. Ave. A, $50,000 for the building. Commissioners are looking for rural addressing and administrator’s office space.