The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Curry moves ahead on Main Street property purchases


November 21, 2018

Kevin Wilson

The Curry County Commission agreed Tuesday afternoon to purchase a trio of properties on the 800 block of North Main - 817, 819 and 821 - for a total price of $190,073.

CLOVIS - Following an executive session that lasted nearly twice the length of the regular meeting that preceded it, the Curry County Commission moved ahead on purchasing three Main Street properties.

By a 4-0 vote - Commissioner Seth Martin was absent - the commission approved purchase of the following three properties and gave County Manager Lance Pyle signatory authority:

• 817 Main St.: $46,691

• 819 Main St.: $79,191

• 821 Main St.: $64,191

None of the three properties were in use. One was an auto supply company shuttered nine years ago, and the other two were gutted by a March fire.

Commissioner Robert Thornton said the primary thought is to turn the block into a parking lot for the detention center and courthouse, but also add green space and park benches for residents.

During the regular meeting, commissioners decided to establish a committee of four commissioners - two city, two county - to work on establishing polling places that are consistent for municipal, primary and general elections.

Commissioner Angelina Baca, who was appointed with Thornton to be part of the eventual committee, said she had concerns after seeing national reports of minority communities facing obstacles to vote when polling places aren't within walking distance.

She said she hadn't heard of any accusations of voter suppression in Curry County, but noted there was voter confusion over why some polling places weren't used anymore and concern there were no polling places for west or south Clovis.

County Attorney Steve Doerr noted that nothing official could be done to establish changes in polling places until June or July of next year.

Recent election cycles have seen elections move away from schools. Both Baca and County Clerk Annie Hogland noted one case where a citizen couldn't vote at his polling place because he was a sex offender and not allowed at any school.

"Just as elections have changed, schools have changed," Hogland said. "Security issues are different."

Pyle said he had received calls as to why Trinity United Methodist Church was no longer a polling place, and said any change in polling places usually causes confusion. He would get in touch with Clovis City Manager Justin Howalt on establishing Clovis' half of the committee.

In other business at Tuesday's meeting:

• Assistant Detention Center Administrator Jay Pavlik updated commissioners on jail activities.

The average daily population at the Adult Detention Center was 212 for October. He also noted the jail expansion construction is going well.

"Walls are going up, we're getting somewhere," Pavlik said. "We're able to point out problems with the building, and they're fixing things as they go."

Baca asked Pavlik if the detention center is working with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement on deportations. She said she had contact with a constituent who said a relative was taken by ICE and deported after his release from the detention center.

Pavlik said the jail doesn't directly work with ICE, but the entity can act independently to find out when targets are incarcerated and simply wait for them to walk out the jail door upon release.

• Cannon Air Force Base officials updated the commission on the base's public outreach efforts in connection to its water contamination issues - including a town hall meeting, a tour for staff of Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. and installation of an additional gorundwater monitoring well.

• The commission signed on with five legislative priorities from New Mexico Counties for the upcoming legislative session.

Included in the priorities were forfeiture act reform, removing the state fire marshal's office and fire protection fund from the Public Regulation Commission and adding funding for county detention facilities that transport state prisoners.

• The commission canceled its Jan. 1 meeting, and moved its Jan. 15 meeting to Jan. 10. Pyle noted the difficulties in a meeting around the holidays, and the need to concentrate on the upcoming legislative session.

"If we need a special meeting we can call one," Pyle said, "but we really need to be up in Santa Fe and make sure they're hearing the needs of Curry County."

• The next meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Dec. 4 at the Curry County Administrative Complex.


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