County looks to form board for finances

By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer

Quay County needs to establish a board of finance to manage its banking services and investment policies, County Treasurer Patsy Gresham told county commissioners Monday.

Gresham said the purpose of the board would include reviewing requests for proposals on banking services and manage the county’s investments. She said the board should include the treasurer, County Clerk Veronica Marez, two or more commissioners; Franklin McCasland (chair), Mike Cherry (district 2) and Sue Dowell (district 1) and County Manager Richard Primrose.

McCasland said it would be in the best interest of the county if all three commissioners served on the board. He said all the commissioners should have input into such policies.

Cherry said having all three commissioners serving would require any meeting of the board to be held as a public meeting subject to the open meetings laws. He said following the regulations of the open meeting act, is not a problem, they just need to make sure that adequate notice of a meeting is given to the public.

“The more that we involve the public the better,” McCasland said.

Gresham said another issue the board would address is the possibility of accepting debit and credit card payments for property tax payments. She said to date the county has collected $2,743,000 of the estimated $5.4 million in property taxes.

Gresham said she encourages the public to pay their property taxes before the second half deadline on May 10, in order to avoid fees and penalties. She said taxpayers can pay a portion of the property tax that is owed over a period of time, rather than paying the entire amount.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, Larry Hines asked the commissioners and Quay County Road Superintendent Larry Moore about the county’s intention and plans of repairing Quay Road AJ.

Hines asked if the county planned to repair the road and if so, was there an estimated date to those repairs.

Moore said there are several roads that need repair and he is aware of Hines’ issues with AJ. He said at this time no date could be given to the anticipated repair of the road. There is a priority list to what roads are repaired first in the country, Moore added.

Moore said the priorities are determined based on several factors, including bus routes, funding and the availability of raw materials. He said currently the county is looking for a caliche quarry that can produce the material needed for the repairs.

Hines left the meeting after Moore or McCasland said they were unable to give a date for the repairs.

“I do not like to see someone so upset,” Dowell said. “It is frustrating to see good people get no answers.”

Dowell said there should be a way to have the repairs done to the road.

“Instead of putting in a new road, maybe the funds could be used for the repairs of roads in need of service,” Dowell said.

Dowell asked Moore why work had not been done to the road in question and what cost or issues were preventing the repairs.

Moore said the county lacked the money and that the county’s current ranking on the priority list were factors in the work not being done. He said if there is an immediate danger or the road is impassable then the road is a top priority. The wet summer, fall and current moisture has resulted in several roads needing attention. There just is not enough time to get to each road, Moore added “It would cost the county $1,200 to conduct the environmental assessment on the section of road” , Moore said. “I have to make the best use of available funds.”

McCasland said the priorities for the 1,100 miles of county roads include bus routes and the roads of residents in hospice care. He said it may seem like the commission, Moore or the county is pushing the resident’s concerns aside but that simply is not the case.
In other business, commissioners:

• Approved inmate housing contracts between Roosevelt County Detention Center and the Quay County Detention Center for adult inmates and a contract with Taos County for housing of juvenile inmates.
• Approved the 2016 commission meeting dates and county’s holiday schedule.
• Approved the Department of Finance Authority fund 89200 Capital Appropriation Project for $100,000. The grant money is part of  the cost of the $170,000 Tyler Software system that will be used by the
County Treasurer’s and Assessor’s offices. The commission approved the purchase of the upgraded system during the Nov. 9 meeting.
• Held an executive session for the discussion of pending litigation and limited personnel matters. No action taken.

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