Letters to the editor: New courthouse part of growth

It is up to voters to decide the question of general obligation bonds for the design and construction of a courthouse addition, as well as whether a 1/4 cent addition should be made to the county’s gross receipts tax, designated for the design and construction of detention center renovations and expansion.

As a judge of 21 1/2 years, I have observed numerous changes in Curry County.

Clovis Fire Department grew from a single engine company that was manned by volunteers to 71 full-time employees housed in one main fire station with four substations. Four additional volunteer fire departments service the county.

The police department, too, grew from one marshal to its current team of 88 sworn and civilian employees serving this great community, as well as the county sheriff’s department team of 16 certified and six non-certified officials.

Just as Curry County has grown from a population of 8,000 in 1930 to over 45,000 in 2000, Clovis has witnessed many changes in the 74 years since the historical courthouse was built to house just one judge.

By 2006, the New Mexico 9th Judicial District Court consisted of five divisions, trying to conduct all court business from the same facility. This courthouse lacks industry-standard security for the public, jurors, judges, witnesses and staff. The new courthouse addition would resolve the accessibility, safety, and security deficiencies present in the existing building.

Over the last 10 years, comparably sized cities, such as Roswell, and much smaller cities — Raton, Bernalillo, Los Lunas and Estancia — have faced similar problems and have had the foresight to build new courthouse facilities. Clovis has grown immensely in all respects, but the courthouse has not kept up with the growth. Curry County has to progress to meet residents’ needs.