Commissioners agree to look into ditch solution

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer

The Roosevelt County Commission has agreed to investigate options for making a deep dip at a county road intersection safer.

About 10 residents who live near Roosevelt Roads 6 1/2 and Q 1/2 complained to commissioners Tuesday about teenagers speeding through the dip for thrill rides, a lack of visibility at the bottom, and drivers turning around on their property to avoid the ditch.

“It’s been a concern for many years,” said John Pugh, who lives near the intersection.

A city of Portales drainage ditch runs through the intersection.

City Clerk Joan Martinez-Terry said the ditch is necessary for drainage.

Pugh said almost every day a driver speeds through the intersection. He believes someone will eventually die in wreck if something isn’t done.

County Road Department Supervisor Ricky Lovato said the county can’t afford a culvert.

When the county checked into culvert prices some time ago, a concrete bridge culvert cost $350,000 to $400,000, Lovato said.

Instead, Lovato suggested closing Roosevelt Road 6 1/2 before the intersection — which would mean motorists would need to drive around the block — or installing speed bumps.

Residents Shanna Thurman and Pete Paiz said drivers would use their property to turn around, as they do now.

Pugh later said traffic on Q 1/2, rather than 6 1/2, is the biggest concern.

Paiz said he and others want to be able to use the road rather than having it blocked.

Residents said large trucks couldn’t take the dip and instead us private property to turn around. Lovato suggested installing a “No trucks” sign at N.M. 206.

“Give us some time,” commission Chairman David Sanders said.

The county would try to find a solution and work with the city, he said.

On another matter, the commission voted to direct County Manager Charlene Hardin to negotiate with Correctional Health Care Management on a price for Roosevelt County Detention Center inmate medical care.

Hardin is to bring the estimate back to the commission for a decision.

Commissioners previously rejected a $232,000 proposal for medical services, saying the cost was too high. Four companies responded to a second request for proposals.

Hardin said proposals from Advanced Correctional Health Care and Correctional Health Care Management met the criteria, while the other two left out details.

Advanced Correctional Health Care offered the lowest price: $89,000. But the firm didn’t specify to Hardin’s satisfaction how mental health care and pharmaceuticals would be provided, she said.

Hardin recommended negotiating with Correctional Health Care Management for a lower price, and awarding the proposal to Advanced Correctional Health Care if the other company didn’t drop its price.

In other business, commissioners:

• Voted Hardin a 4 percent pay raise following a closed session.

• Accepted an ambulance for Arch Volunteer Fire Department from Clovis Fire Department.

• Approved renewed contracts with Michael Miller and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a mileage reimbursement of 55 cents for employees and a joint powers agreement for Quay County to house Roosevelt County prisoners if needed.