County weighs land choice

By Kevin Baird

CNJ STAFF WRITER

kbaird@cnjonline.com

Contract negotiations for a land deal between Clovis and Curry County for the purpose of building a new jail are ongoing, according to Mayor David Lansford.

The deal, as presented by Lansford, would be handled as a government-to-government transfer giving 15 acres east of the landfill on Brady Avenue to the county, and no money will change hands.

The county is holding an Aug. 6 election, asking citizens to renew bonds set to expire, providing the $9.88 million while preserving current property tax rates. County Manager Lance Pyle has noted total costs will run in excess of $13 million, and the county needs to either take out a loan or pull from the general fund to pay costs not covered by the bond.

The county is still negotiating with the Clovis Industrial Development Corp., which has offered 28 acres for $140,000 ($5,000 per acre). The parcel of CIDC land is on the same road and almost kitty-corner to the northwest of Clovis’ property being offered.

Neither property has utilities.

Lansford said he looked at a newly updated contract for the city land deal on Tuesday morning, and the contract is, “close to where it needs to be.”

Lansford said there are three issues on the contract that still need to be worked out:

  • Who will take care of the roads?
  • When will the land be annexed into the city limits?
  • Details relating to the city’s need for access to wells that test the ground water for contamination due to the property being next to the city landfill.

“Nothing is final until the county approves the contract and then the city.”

County Commissioner Ben McDaniel said commissioners have not yet decided between the Clovis Industrial Development Corp.-owned land or the city-owned land. He said commissioners will make their final decision on a land deal during the executive session of the county commission on Friday.

“It would be really stupid not to,” McDaniel said about making a decision on a land deal. “I’m not going to walk out of the room without one.”

He said after the executive session ends, commissioners will announce their decision to the public and approve of a contract.

Lansford said if the county chooses Clovis’ land offer, the city commission will have to approve of the finalized contract. He said he will place the item on the agenda for the city’s special meeting on Monday.

Although commissioners are no longer interested, county commissioner Tim Ashley offered to donate 15 acres of land at the crossroads of U.S. 70 and County Road 7 to the county for the purpose of building a new county jail.

“After the second bond election failed I talked to Lance (Pyle) about donating the land,” Ashley said, “because of all the feedback I got from people who didn’t want to put money into a downtown facility.”

McDaniel said, “We figured it would cost half a million dollars to bring utilities to Ashley’s property.”