Home News COVID-19 Situation County changes some operations due to virus

County changes some operations due to virus


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Chaves County is putting what it terms “nonessential functions” on hold and taking other preventative steps in response to the COVID-19 situation. 

County Director Bill Williams said that employees are still reporting to their offices, but public contact will be limited and additional precautionary measures are being taken.

He added that future announcements could be made following a meeting today of the Chaves County Board of Commissioners.

The cessation of “nonessential function” includes the decision by the Planning and Zoning Department to halt zoning and subdivision applications until May. It is also canceling April and May meetings for groups involved in zoning decisions.

Planning and Zoning Director Louis Jaramillo made the following announcement.

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“In compliance with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and NM (New Mexico) Department of Health and for the health, safety and wellness of the commissioners and residents of Chaves County in dealing with the COVID-19 virus, the Planning and Zoning Department will not be accepting zoning and subdivision applications in March-April 2020 for meetings normally held in April and May 2020.

“Staff may begin accepting applications on May 4th, 2020, for the county Planning and Zoning Commission and on May 18th, 2020, for the Roswell-Chaves County ETZ Commission, subject to change. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause.”

Williams said that zoning and subdivision applications typically can wait, but he added that Planning and Zoning employees still will work with the public if there is an “emergency or critical need.”

At this time, he said, the county is notifying its employees of recommended health and safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, asking that all travel plans be cleared by county management, and is transferring as many of its forms and information to its website to provide alternatives to public visits. Information is also being posted in its display cases at the Chaves County Administrative Center for those without email or internet. 

The Chaves County Courthouse is open for court business only.

Meetings are being kept to 10 or fewer people. Today’s 9 a.m. Chaves County Commissioners meeting still is scheduled to occur, but adjacent conference rooms and the rotunda will be utilized to allow for the recommended “social distancing” of 6 feet between people. It is possible that further announcements could follow that meeting.

“We believe that we need to provide services to the public. That’s our job,” he said. “Our hope is that everyone will remain calm and we will get through this together.”

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/. 

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.