By Jeff Tucker
Record Staff Writer
The Chaves County Commissioners last week denied several requests for road maintenance, citing a lack of available funding.
The commissioners, at their May 15 meeting, approved the county assuming maintenance of one road, while they denied four road maintenance requests from the Buena Vida Improvement Association.
The commissioners also approved one road vacation, while denying two other requests to vacate roads.
The commissioners had held their annual road hearing on April 17 to receive public input on all of the 2014 road requests.
The commission voted 4-0 last week to approve a request by Ellison Carter to maintain about 5 miles of Aleut Road, located south of U.S. Highway 380, about 20 miles east of Roswell.
The Buena Vida Improvement Association submitted four requests for the county to maintain dirt roads in the subdivision, which is south of U.S. Highway 70, about 10 miles west of Roswell.
The association asked the county to maintain about 0.4 miles of Tierra Grande Boulevard, to maintain about 0.4 miles of El Rosal Street, to maintain about 0.2 miles of El Arco Way and to maintain 0.2 miles of Los Padrinos Avenue.
The commissioners said adding roads to the county’s road inventory is expensive. They denied all four requests from the association in a single unanimous vote.
“Our hands are tied because of the financial constraints,” said Commissioner Kyle “Smiley” Wooton.
Commissioner Greg Nibert said after the meeting the county would continue to face financial constraints in light of the county’s $15 million jail renovation that is under way.
“This year, next year, we’re going to have to ramp up in staff out there,” Nibert said. ”Ultimately, we’re going to have to have 12 new guard positions as well as support staff. Coming up with the money to pay for these additional positions is really causing the heartache the budget committee is dealing with this year.”
The jail renovation is expected to be completed next year.
Nibert said the county’s purse strings would continue to be tight until the bond issue for the Chaves County Courthouse is paid off in 2019.
“In 2019, we should finally see some relief,” Nibert said. “In 2019, the county can breathe a little easier because those funds will free up. At that point, there will be some extra funds and give the commission some breathing room. The next four or five years, the finances are going to be difficult because of the additional positions we’re having to bring on staff, particularly for the detention center.”
Neil Roe of the Buena Vida Improvement Association said subdivision residents are very appreciative of a fire station the county is having built in the subdivision at 15 Tierra Grande Blvd.
The $465,472 fire station is being built by Waide Construction Co., of Roswell. It will become fire station No. 4 for the Sierra Volunteer Fire Department and will service the Buena Vida subdivision and elsewhere. Subdivision homeowners donated property for the fire station.
Construction of the fire station is expected to be completed sometime in August, said Chaves County Fire & Safety administrator Tammy West.
The commission voted unanimously to deny a request by JY Ranch to vacate about 1.5 miles of Butterweed Road.
The county relinquishes any responsibility for the maintenance of vacated roads as the roads are abandoned and cease serving as public right of ways.
Butterweed Road connects with U.S. Highway 285, about 50 miles north of Roswell.
Nibert said Butterweed Road is on federal Bureau of Land Management property and the county is not currently maintaining it. He said the BLM might take control of Butterweed Road if the county vacates it.
Commissioner Kim Chesser said he favored vacating the road. Chesser said vacating the road could stop heavy truck traffic en route to a pipeline.
“Right now, it’s a road to nowhere,” said Commissioner Robert Corn.
The commission voted 3-1 to deny the ranch’s request. Chesser cast the dissenting vote.
The commission denied a request by Chuck Wagner to vacate 1 mile of Cliff Road, just east of the Pecos River, about 35 miles northeast of Roswell.
Wooton abstained from the vote, saying Cliff Road affects members of his family.
Commission Chairman James Duffey said there is no public property along Cliff Road and the commission voted 4-0 to deny Wagner’s request.
Wagner asked that his $250 filing fee be put toward a cattle guard gate on Cliff Road.
The commissioners said Wagner’s filing fee would remain in the county’s general fund. The motion to deny Wagner’s request included approving the installation of a cattle guard on the road.
The commission did not consider two requests from Singleton Properties, one to vacate 1 mile of Loving Road, and another to vacate about 2.5 miles of Ocate Road. The commissioners said both Loving and Ocate roads are private roads, and therefore are not subject to county authority.
Singleton Properties submitted a third request to vacate about 5 miles of Red Hill Road, located about 55 northeast of Roswell.
The commission voted unanimously to vacate the 5-mile stretch of Red Hill Road.