Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Covered rodeo arena may not be cost effective for county

Increased estimates are causing county officials to question whether they can complete plans to remodel the fairgrounds rodeo arena, proposed as a cheap way to build a county special events center.

An estimate for a metal building that would be part of the proposed remodeling has come back at twice the original estimate, county officials said. Now the commissioners want to hire an architect or engineer to draw up plans and obtain hard numbers for the project, they said.

The county has $3 million available to build a special events center, from a tax increase approved by voters in 2001.

In March, the commission approved a proposal by Commissioner Pete Hulder to build a metal building over the Mounted Patrol Arena, widen the arena floor and build new bathrooms, a new concession stand, heating and cooling, light and sprinkler systems.

Hulder told the commission that county maintenance supervisor Lee Delk had called local suppliers and, even with a 20 percent contingency fee, estimated the cost of the remodeling to be about $2.68 million.

Commissioner Albin Smith said the county’s special events committee now has a good idea of what the metal building will cost, but needs estimates of how much the interior of the building — including improvements to meet the Americans With Disabilities Act, new bathrooms and lighting — would cost.

“The numbers we’re getting back are just close enough to having it not be feasible, that we need to get hard numbers,” Smith said.

The architect or engineer hired would also be authorized to get bids on the plans. The commissioners hope to have some final figures within 60 days, he said.

In other business, the commissioners adopted ordinances authorizing gross receipts tax increases to help fund county administrative and adult detention center expenses.

Composed of a 1/16 percent increase to fund operations and a 1/8 percent increase to fund detention center costs, the new taxes are estimated to generate about $1.2 million a year. But, since they will not go into effect until January 2005, they will provide only about $650,000 in the upcoming fiscal year, said County Manager Geneva Cooper.

Detention Center administrator Don Burdine said expenses at the jail have increased from about $10,000 to about $15,000 per month.

Hulder asked Cooper if the county should ask the city of Clovis to increase its share of the cost of caring for prisoners at the detention center.

“The figures I’ve gotten from Don do not substantiate our asking for an increase. We’d have to find which prisoners are city prisoners and if there has been an increase,” Cooper said.