Home News Local News Chaves County identifies top 10 capital priorities

Chaves County identifies top 10 capital priorities

Replacing this bridge on West Brasher Road due to increased traffic in the area and safety concerns is on the list again for the county. The project had been funded by legislators in 2020, but was vetoed by the governor. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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Chaves County has identified its top 10 infrastructure and capital projects for a five-year period staring with the next fiscal year.

They include projects involving roads and bridges, the Roswell Air Center, the Sheriff’s Office and the Pecos Valley Regional Communications Center.

The Chaves County Board of Commissioner voted during its regular Thursday meeting to approve the 2022-2026 Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan, said Public Services Director Bill Williams.

The ICIP is a “working document” that typically lists hundreds of projects considered necessary during a five-year period. The one just adopted starts in fiscal year 2022, which runs from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022.

The new plan, which replaces other plans developed annually, begins with the fiscal year that starts July 2021 because that is when state funds authorized by legislators during their next regular session in 2021 would be expected to be available to local government entities.

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The plan is required to be prepared each year by counties, municipalities, tribal governments and other entities seeking state funding. Projects must be on the list if legislators are asked to allocate state capital funds for them, although legislators can choose to fund projects not listed. Governmental entities also use the lists when seeking funding from other sources and to coordinate planning on a regional basis.

“We generally try to keep it at five,” said Williams, talking about presentations to state legislators prior to the legislative session. “Some years certain projects are more likely to get funded. So what is No. 7 might end up making our presentation list because we know funding might be available and that sort of thing.”

Many of the top 10 priorities are related to public safety.

• Pecos Valley dispatch and emergency services, $350,000.

Williams said that funding is in preparation for when dispatch, or the Pecos Valley Regional Communications Center, moves to what is known as Area D of the Chaves County Administrative Center, which is on the south side of the building. Chaves County also has committed some of its own funds for this project.

• Chaves County Administrative Center Area D restroom additions, $250,000. This is related to the relocation of the dispatch services.

• West Brasher Road bridge replacement, $850,000.

The project had been funded fully by legislators previously as part of a larger statewide transportation projects bill, but Senate Bill 232 was vetoed in March by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who said some projects lacked clear financial explanations and rationalizations and cited state financial concerns due to COVID-19 and the oil and gas industry downturn.

Increased traffic to the nearby city landfill and the opening of an asphalt plant close to the bridge prompted citizens to ask the county to replace it. It is considered to be too narrow, especially for large vehicles, which causes vehicles to move to the center of the bridge. Since the bridge is on a bit of a hill, that can make it difficult to see oncoming traffic as well.

• Hobson Road and U.S. 285 realignment, $836,000.

Williams said this project is being done in cooperation with the state and city of Roswell. He said deceleration and acceleration lanes are needed to create a safe intersection.

• Chaves County Sheriff’s Office public safety vehicles, $235,000.

The funds would provide five fully equipped vehicles. According to county documents, the Sheriff’s Office anticipates making a similar request each year.

• 125 KVA generator, $150,000.

This would be a back-up to the existing generator owned by the county and would ensure continued operations for the Sheriff’s Office and the Pecos Valley Regional Communications Center during emergencies.

• Industrial site utility and infrastructure upgrades at the Roswell Air Center, $5 million.

The 2020 state Legislature and Lujan Grisham already have provided $5 million to the county for the laying of gas, water, sewer and utility lines at the Air Center. The idea is that entities are more likely to build hangars or other facilities at “shovel-ready” sites.

• Telehandler, or telescoping forklift, for Facilities Maintenance Department, $180,000.

• Voting machine warehouse, $400,000.

A warehouse has been on the ICIP for a number of years, but the county has moved it up in priority in anticipation of the Area D renovation.

• Firearms Training Simulator for Sheriff’s Office, $75,000.

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.