Commission to vote on improvements plan

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Curry County commissioners are expected to approve a five-year, $56.1 million capital improvement plan during a special meeting Tuesday.

The Infrastructure and Capital Improvements Plan — which outlines capital improvement requests the county will make from 2011 to 2015 — shows a focus on road improvement.

The commission will meet at 9 a.m. in the commission room at the courthouse.

For 2011 there are 14 items the county plans to seek money for, with the top six, in order of highest priority, being:

• road projects the Legislature will provide money for

• judicial complex construction

• adult and juvenile detention center improvements

• road equipment and vehicles

• Curry County Fairgrounds and Special Events Centers improvements

• courthouse improvements

County Manager Lance Pyle said he will ask commissioners to move the judicial complex down to sixth priority and shift the items ranked below it up.

Only the top five items are submitted to the Legislature. The remaining items the county hopes to secure funding for through grants and other sources.

The 2011 fiscal year begins in July.

“We know the state is crunched for funds, but the top five are definite needs for the county, and we’re going to go ahead and submit our capital funding in the hope some funding will come down our way,” Pyle said.

Road projects the Legislature is usually willing to pay for account for a major portion of each year’s list for a five-year total of $9.5 million, representing approximately 20 percent of the requests.

The improvements plan says the area has seen an increase in dairies and several other businesses in the past few years, and as a result, road maintenance and equipment has become “critically” important.

Infrastructure is vital to supporting continued growth, which is in part due to expansion at Cannon Air Force Base, according to the plan.

In 2011 alone, the county plans to ask the Legislature for $3 million for primary road projects and seek $4.2 million from different sources for other road projects. The county would like a further $2.5 million for road equipment and vehicles as well.

Also in 2011, the county is seeking $30 million for the construction of a judicial complex, $3 million for renovations at the adult and juvenile detention centers and $4 million for improvements at the fairgrounds.

“Curry County strives to provide the highest quality of life and most effective infrastructure and services to its residents,” the plan said.

“Through extensive road improvements, enhanced judicial and detention center facilities and other improved Curry County facilities, we hope to provide Curry County residents with the tools they need to live their best lives.”

Input for creating the plan was sought from county department heads and elected officials.

A public hearing was also held on the capital improvements plan. However, no community members attended, the plan said.

Also during today’s special meeting, commissioners are expected to:

• approve a computer server redesign for the county.

• approve installation of Phase 2 equipment for the Special Events Center.

• approve the operating budget for the Special Events Center and fairgrounds.