Home News Local News County lists top capital projects; Courthouse elevator construction among top five priorities

County lists top capital projects; Courthouse elevator construction among top five priorities

Although the county hopes to have enough money for the $485,000 courthouse elevator project this fiscal year, the project is also listed on the capital improvement plan, indicating future funding priorities. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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The Hobson Road improvement project, upgrades to area emergency radios and the building of an elevator for the Chaves County Courthouse are the top priorities of the county’s five-year capital improvement plan for 2020 to 2024.

The Chaves County Board of Commissioners voted Wednesday at its monthly meeting in Roswell to approve the list that includes 78 possible projects for the 2020 fiscal year alone and a total of 197 projects through 2024.

As Community Development Specialist Georgianna Hunt explained to commissioners, the report has to be submitted to the state each year and represents a fluid but comprehensive list of funding needs for all county departments, as well as for the nonprofits that receive government funds and use the county as a fiscal or contractual agent. Those organizations include all volunteer fire departments in the county, the JOY Centers, Senior Olympics and the Southeast New Mexico Transportation Network.

Commission Chair Robert Corn urged his fellow commissioners to study the list to see if any projects were omitted or miscategorized, in their opinions.

“I hope you took the time to look at this,” he said. “There are two things that are very important on here. One is that all the items are listed. It’s important that we are not missing something. No. 2, the order of the list — if you see something on here that needs to have further scrutiny, now is the time to say something.”

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Commissioner James Duffey suggested that perhaps the project now listed as No. 8, a pavement project for Red Bridge Road, be moved up. He and Road Department Director Joe West noted that the road is being torn up because large trucks have discovered the road as an alternative route to U.S. 285 or Main Street if traveling through the city. West said the county plans to chip-seal the road for about $875,000 a year for four years.

But Duffey decided after the discussion that he was satisfied as long as the project was ranked among the top 10.

County Manager Stanton Riggs and Hunt noted that the county is required to include all unfinished projects on the report, even if the county thinks it will secure enough money to complete the project this fiscal year.

The following five projects were identified as the top priorities for the county.

• The continuation of the $4.5 million improvement of Hobson Road to repair the pavement and fix drainage problems. The current phase is focused on the portion of the road that runs from State Highway 256 east to Menominee Road. Culverts and crossings at Graves Road and Hummingbird Lane already have been repaired, and the construction of a detention pond has been finished by the Chaves County Flood District.

• The Chaves County Courthouse elevator construction. County officials are hopeful that they can obtain the entire $485,328 this current fiscal year to build an elevator that meets the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. A state appropriation of $246,800 has been provided the county, and the county has applied for a federal grant for the remaining amount. The elevator would provide an alternative to the 22 steps and the winding ramp currently available at the downtown courthouse’s North Virginia Avenue public entrance.

• The emergency communications upgrade project occurring in collaboration with the City of Roswell. That phased project, estimated to require an additional $1.56 million after already obtaining $1.17 million through grants and government allocations, involves replacing and upgrading the radios, towers and emergency center communication systems used by county and city fire, police and emergency services.

• Replacement of the Chaves County Courthouse windows to prevent leaking, a $450,000 project that has required obtaining approval from the state for the plans, given that the courthouse is a recognized historic building.

• Replacement vehicles for the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office, estimated at $235,000.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.