Over a dozen Nara Visa residents listened to the Quay County commissioners as they answered questions about county roads.
The residents called the conditions of the county roads after the recent snowstorms the “icing on the cake,” during Monday’s regular commission meeting.
“The county needs a better game plan for maintaining the roads,” said Nara Visa resident Michael Perez.
Perez told the commission that several roads in that area had not been maintained in some time.
“If you are driving on Quay Road L ‘It is like riding in a little red wagon with square wheels’,” Perez said. “Quay Road 96 has not been bladed in two years.”
Perez said the blade that passed over the county roads after the snow storm ran the blade 18 inches off the ground.
“That snow turned into mud and now we have roads with ruts in them eight-to-ten inches deep,” Perez said. “Who is liable for an accident that occurs on that road due to those ruts?”
“If it is the condition of the road that cause the accident then I suppose the county falls liable,” said Commissioner Bill Curry.
Curry said this is a problem that is affecting everyone. He said there are 1,100 miles of county roads and when it snows everyone wants their road cleared now.
Currently the county is operating with a 22 percent budget cut to their roads department, said Quay County Commission Chairman Franklin McCasland. He said another possible cut could take effect next year.
“The county has six blades and is currently a blade man short,” McCasland said. “The trouble is finding a qualified employee that knows the area.”
Perez said when Blanton Morrison was blading the roads in Nara Visa they never had this kind of problem.
“Blanton was on that blade before the sun came up,” Perez said. “He was running the roads making sure that everyone could get around.”
Perez asked the commissioners if the blade was left near Nara Visa could a resident use it to clear the roads.
“The blade operator has to be a county employee,” McCasland said. “There is a issue of liability on our part.”
Nara Visa resident Melvin Keith asked if the commission would consider hiring someone as a seasonal operator for when it snowed.
“I can operate the blade, I have the experience,” Keith said. “I just do not want to be a full time employee of the county.”
McCasland said the commission will look into options on the seasonal employee and will continue to search for a qualified employee.
“I have been on the commission for eight years and this is the most calls I have received about county roads since Blanton quit,” McCasland said. “The commission wants to do the best job possible.”
Other items before the commission included
• Discussion of feral hogs in Quay County by Ron Jones and Justin Stevenson New Mexico Wildlife Services.
• Discussion of use of County Fair Grounds for development of Food Co-op by Drake Swenson.