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Commissioners hear about requested road changes

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A handful of county residents talked about what they want to see happen to roads near them during Thursday’s meeting of the Chaves County Board of Commissioners.

The meeting started with the annual public road hearing, when people can talk about their views concerning requests filed with the county to adopt private roads, close or vacate existing county roads, and change the road to or from a county-maintained road.

Some years, proposed road closures or adoptions can be contentious matters that erupt into angry words. This year, there was no opposition expressed during the hearing to any of the road applications filed. But Tim Jennings did talk about concerns about Oasis Road near some property he owns.

He said he understands the reasons why neighboring property owners have asked for the road closure, or road vacation, due to concerns about trespassing, property damage, debris and safety. But Jennings added that he wants a written agreement with them to ensure continued access to his property.

The decisions regarding that request and the 13 other road change applications are still to come. The total 14 requests include seven for road maintenance status changes, two for the county to adopt a private road and five for road vacations.

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Citizen freeholders have given their opinions to the five commissioners and the public, and the commissioners are scheduled now to visit each road starting at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, with the final visit at Oasis Road expected to occur at about 3 p.m. The public is able to participate in the tour or meet commissioners at each site, but they must provide their own transportation.

Commissioners can choose to make decisions about the roads immediately after the site visits, but most likely they will wait until a future board meeting, said Bill Williams, Chaves County Public Services director.

He added that applicants for road adoptions now will have until March to meet the necessary standards for the county to take the roads over, if commissioners approve those requests.

During the Thursday meeting, the commissioners also voted on several other items.

• They passed three resolutions covering many different agreements that will allow the county to work with outside groups on juvenile justice and DWI prevention programs and involve $1.24 million in grants to the county for the upcoming year, with one funding source going until 2024.

• They approved a lease with a purchase option with Sierra Machinery to obtain a Volvo wheel loader for $1,647.40 a month. A lease term was not specified.

• They voted for three different agreements with the New Mexico Department of Transportation for various road improvement projects that will provide $454,602 in state funding and require county contributions.

• They agreed to the sale, donation or disposal of property considered obsolete, unneeded or damaged.

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