Commission considers smoking code

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

The Curry County Commission is considering limiting outdoor smoking at the Curry County Fairgrounds.

The proposal would limit outdoor smoking to 25 feet or more outside the fairgrounds gates. The ordinance will also designate a distance of 25 feet for smoking areas at all county building entrances and ban smoking in county vehicles.

State and county laws already prohibit smoking indoors on all county property. Local government agencies are permitted to add stricter regulations to the state standard, according to Curry County Manager Dick Smith.

“Technically, the entire fairgrounds is going to be a non-smoking area,” County Attorney Stephen Doerr said.

Doerr said people can still smoke in the fairgrounds parking lot, as long as they do so 25 feet away from the gates.

County Manager Dick Smith said a state law passed in February banning indoor smoking in public buildings does not define the distance smoking is permitted from buildings.

If passed, the ordinance would take effect in October.

County commissioner Albin Smith called the ordinance redundant.

“This is legislative bullcrap,” he said.

The county ordinance will be listed as an agenda item in the Oct. 9 County Commission meeting.

In other business:
Eastern New Mexico Disaster Recovery Council Chairman Lance Clemmons updated commissioners on recovery of the homes affected by the March 23 tornado.
The council was created to address tornado victims with unmet needs, which are people without home insurance or who did not qualify for FEMA aid, said Clovis and Curry County Management Director Ken De Los Santos.
The council is down to 21 cases of the 300 it handled since the tornado, Clemmons said.
“We are down to some of the most difficult cases,” he said.

Curry County Sheriff Matt Murray reported the lack of dispatchers in the Clovis Police Department is at a critical state.
He said the police department, which handles county emergency calls overnight, has six of 14 dispatcher positions filled. He said four deputies have worked as dispatchers on their days off or on overtime. The police department pays for the deputies’ overtime, according to Murray.
Three dispatchers are going through training, said Undersheriff Wesley Waller.
“It’s going to be a slow process,” he said. “And we’re doing everything we can to help with that.”