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The Eddy County Commission gave their approval Tuesday to the Eddy County Vegetation Nuisance Ordinance and the Eddy County Liquid Waste Ordinance.

The Planning and Development Advisory Committee had previously conducted two public meetings – one in Carlsbad Feb. 16 and one in Artesia Feb. 18 – to receive public comment on the proposed ordinances. The committee did not receive any comment that would create significant changes to the ordinances and therefore recommended approval of both without changes.

The Vegetation Nuisance Ordinance’s stated intent is to promote the general health, safety and welfare of the people and property of Eddy County by prohibiting the maintenance or accumulation of plants determined to be a fire hazard, as well as to promote the growth of native and other grasses and plants whose root structures tend to aid in stabilizing the soil and reducing dust. It is also intended to encourage good practices for vegetation management and soil conservation.

The Liquid Waste Ordinance states every owner shall be responsible for the storing, treating and disposing of liquid waste generated on that property in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations, rules and requirements.

Also on Tuesday, Roberta Smith, Eddy County finance director, announced bid awards for multiple projects throughout the county. The first was for pre-employment physicals, return-to-work physicals and Law Enforcement Academy physicals. The county received three responses, and an evaluation committee reviewed the bids and decided to choose two contracts/awards – Taddy Healthcare Services with a bid amount of $16,389.50 and Industrial Health Services with a bid amount of $35,166.

The second bid concerned the Assessor’s Oil and Gas Personal Property Audit to perform an audit of all assessed oil and gas companies operating in the county. Eddy County received two responses and elected to select Total Assessment Solution with a winning bid amount of $749,500.

The third contract up for consideration was for a 20 Mbps leased fiber optic circuit without internet service to be connected from the Eddy County Administration Building to the Sandpoint Landfill Office. The county received one bid from Penasco Valley Telecommunications (PVT) in the amount of $86,400.

The final bid awarded was for medical services for Department of Transportation drug/alcohol screens and quarterly random drug/alcohol screens for designated employees of Eddy County. The county received three bids and, after evaluation, selected Taddy Healthcare Services in the amount of $19,900.50.

Smith then went on to discuss the revenue reports for February and March, as well as the revenue and expense (budgeted vs. actual) reports from January and February.

Gross Receipts Tax revenue was $23,020 over budget, up from February, which was $134,460 under budget. Oil and gas receipts were $1,603,349 under budget, down from February’s $955,661 under budget.

Total budgeted revenue for January was $70,520,916, whereas actual revenue totaled $48,361,220.23, and the percent of the budget collected was 68.58. The budgeted expense for January was $94,001,039 with actual expense of $53,661,832.14 and a 62.28-percent budget utilization. Budgeted revenue for February was $70,520,916 with actual revenue of $51,569,592.93 and a 73.13-percent budget usage, and the budgeted expense for February was $94,001,039 with actual expense of $59,074,062.90 and a 62.84-percent utilization.

In other business Tuesday, the commission:

• drafted a letter of support signed by the commissioners for Grammy’s House Domestic Violence Shelter in Artesia so that the nonprofit can be considered for funding from the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority.

• granted a special dispenser permit to Hotel Artesia for the operation of a beer tent at the Smokin’ on the Pecos New Mexico State Barbecue Championship.

• approved a request for assistance from the Village of Hope to the Road Department in Artesia to transport debris to the landfill after their cleanup, which is scheduled for April 9-17.

• approved a request from the Otis Volunteer Fire Department to replace its 1996 fire engine with a new engine at a cost of $545,000. The planned replacement will utilize a mix of State Fire Funds and Fire Excise Funds.

• approved a request from the Happy Valley Volunteer Fire Department to utilize their Fire Excise Funds to purchase a 4×4 three-quarter-ton pickup truck to utilize as a command and staff vehicle. The vehicle will be in addition to an older two-wheel-drive Tahoe the department has but will provide them with the ability to respond in all weather and terrain, to haul cargo, and to tow trailers when needed. The vehicle will be purchased on approved state contract.

• approved a request from the Malaga Volunteer Fire Department to utilize their Fire Excise Funds to replace a 2003 Ford Expedition previously operated by the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office. The unit has 135,475 miles on it, and the age and mechanical condition of the vehicle is becoming a safety concern. The department intends to purchase a three-quarter-ton pickup truck.