Meetings watch: County commission

At the Roosevelt County Commission meeting Tuesday commissioners:

• Appointed Chairman David Sanders to the Joint Land Use Study Policy Committee.

• Voted to form a Dalley Windmill Collection Committee to come up with a cost estimate and plan for moving a windmill collection that Bill and Alta Dalley of Portales have offered to donate to the county. Commissioner Bill Cathey, County Manager Charlene Hardin, the Dalleys, Charles Chambers, Rodney Payne and a fair board member yet to be determined will be on the committee.

• Approved renewal of an agreement for inmate health care services with Correctional Healthcare Management of Greenwood Village, Colo. Hardin said the company had fixed most of the issues county officials were concerned about and there would be no increase in fees. The services cost almost $125,800 a year.

• Approved three cooperative agreements with the state Department of Transportation.

• Approved a maintenance policy for county roads and signs.

Hardin said the county’s insurance authority had suggested such a policy because of recent difficult-to-defend claims in other places. The insurance authority had to pay claims dealing with accidents in which a sign was down or there was a hazard in the road. In order to show the county had addressed such problems, Hardin said county personnel would need to document downed signs and road problems and record when the hazards were fixed.

• Approved the final budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. Hardin said the budget was balanced and included putting money in reserves if all went according to plan.

According to the budget spreadsheet, the county will have about $9.6 million in expenses and $10.4 million in income, as well as a beginning balance of $1.6 million and $4.2 million in investments.

• Heard Roosevelt County Detention Center Administrator David Casanova say the jail population seemed to be growing. Tuesday morning, he said the jail had 109 inmates — 19 women and 90 men — including three being housed for Curry County.

• Agreed to work out an arrangement that allows jail inmates to be baptized, as has been done in the past. Charles Singleton with the Churches of Christ said his group had been baptizing inmates when called upon in a program that began in 1988, but Casanova was no longer allowing it because of safety and security issues.

Casanova said he was concerned about such things as someone slipping on the water and the baptisms taking detention officers away from other duties. Singleton said he knew of no accident or security problem associated with the baptisms in the history of the program.

County Attorney Rick Queener said he thought something could be arranged to allow the program to continue with minimal liability.

• Heard Greg Fisher, Roosevelt County Community Development Corporation executive director, say the planned Sapphire Energy project to study feeding waste from bio-energy-producing algae to cows was moving forward.

Darron Smith of Eastern New Mexico University’s Department of Family, Consumer Sciences and Agriculture will lead the project, and New Mexico State University employees will participate, Fisher said. He said the federal government is contributing $900,000, and Saphire is contributing $500,000.

— Compiled by PNT Senior Writer Argen Duncan