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Commissioners to consider legislative requests

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A solar company presentation and a discussion of 2022 legislative priorities of the state’s 33 counties are planned to be discussed during a meeting later this week of the Chaves County Board of Commissioners.

The commissioners are holding their monthly meeting a week earlier than usual due to a legislative conference the following week. The meeting is scheduled to occur at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Chaves County Administrative Center, 1 St. Mary’s Place. The county also plans to livestream the meeting at www.facebook.com/ChavesCountyNM.

According to an agenda released by the county Friday night, the meeting will begin with a presentation by Next Era Energy Resources, the company that operates two solar projects in Chaves County not far from the Roswell city limits that supply electricity to Xcel Energy.

During the board’s Dec. 16 meeting, County Manager Bill Williams indicated that the company was planning to expand its local operations. On Dec. 21, a Next Era communications representative said that the company was discussing the possibility with local officials. The presentation does not involve a vote or official approval at this time, according to agenda documents.

Among the seven action items on the agenda is a resolution to support three legislative priorities identified by New Mexico Counties, an association for county employees.

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One of the three priorities involves requests for House Bill 2 state appropriations to reimburse counties for the costs of detaining and transporting state inmates and to create permanent county participation and financial support for the Reach, Intervene, Support and Engage (RISE) program intended to reduce recidivism. Another proposal is to create a matching-fund program to help counties pay for state district court facilities. The third priority is to pass legislation requiring that taxes on insurance premiums collected for the purpose of funding the Law Enforcement Protection Fund remain with that fund and not be used for the state general fund.

In addition, the board is expected to elect a chairperson and vice-chair for 2022 and to vote whether to continue to pay the Southeastern New Mexico Economic Development District for its work with the county, which includes helping to secure funding for capital projects. In the past, the economic development group worked with the county on federal grants for the Chaves County Courthouse elevator, and a future project could be a new public health building.

The board is also being asked to adopt the updated Chaves County Hazard Mitigation Plan. State and federal emergency management agencies require regularly updated plans for jurisdictions to be eligible to receive pre- or post-disaster relief funding.

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