Commission votes to impose burn ban

By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer

Curry County commissioners on Wednesday voted to impose a county-wide outdoor burn ban.

Commissioners said the ban encompasses all types of fires, including fireworks and grills.

The ban will remain in place until commissioners act to rescind it.

County Road Superintendent Danny Davis asked for the ban, informing commissioners his department was involved in fighting four grass fires over the weekend.

Davis said area residents need to be extremely cautious because of dry conditions.

He said two of the recent fires were caused by fireworks “and one was probably due to a cigarette.”

“I am asking everyone to not flick their cigarettes out the window,” he said.

Also on Wednesday, county commissioners voted unanimously to elect Tim Ashley as chairman for 2006.

Ashley was nominated for the position by fellow Commissioner Albin Smith to replace 2005’s chairman, Ed Perales. The new chairman said he has a huge appreciation for Perales.

“He (Perales) faced a lot of challenges as chairman of the Commission,” Ashley said. “I just hope I can fill his shoes.”

Ashley said he hopes to continue to improve the jail situation and make headway with the Juvenile Justice Committee in seeking alternatives to incarcerating juveniles.

Departing Chairman Perales expressed thanks to his fellow commissioners for supporting him during his one-year term.

The commissioners voted Smith to be vice-chairman.
Additional agenda items discussed:

• Mario Trujillo, county clerk, reported his department is busy verifying approximately 790 signatures on a petition regarding Sunday liquor sales. Voting Administrator Coni Jo Lyman said a large number of signatures will be disqualified because they are not registered voters who reside within the city limits. Officials have said 733 valid signatures are needed to force an election.

• Sheriff Roger Hatcher said the FBI training he recently attended was the highlight of his law-enforcement career. He thanked Perales for nominating him. He also thanked Undersheriff Doug Bowman for managing the sheriff’s office in his absence.

• Davis reported a Jan. 17 groundbreaking is scheduled for the state Road 467 overpass.

• Approval was granted to grant facilitator Miranda Chavez to submit a grant application seeking $500,000 in funding via a Community Development Block Grant. The grant money would be used to begin construction on the Martin Luther King railroad overpass.

• Bowman reported 246 inmates are being held at the Curry County Adult Detention Center while the juvenile detention center has 17 inmates.

• Assistant County Manager Lance Pyle was granted approval on 42 indigent medical claims from Plains Regional Medical Center totaling $69,371.57.