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Eddy County Commissioners Stella Davis, left, and Susan Crockett listen to a Bureau of Land Management presentation on the proposed Resource Management Plan. (Teresa Lemon – Daily Press)

The Eddy County Commission voted Tuesday in Artesia to approve a one-time payment of $200,000 to the Artesia Fire Department to assist in the hiring, training and salaries of six new employees.

According to Artesia City Councilor Kent Bratcher, the City of Artesia will assume all expense after the project money is expended. Artesia Fire Chief Kevin Hope reported to the commission that the six additional personnel were needed so that ground transports of hospital patients did not have to be turned down because of a shortage of manpower.

The commission then approved a payment of $285,000 to the Carlsbad Fire Department to be used directly to fund their Station 6 project. The City of Carlsbad will assume all expense after the project money is expended. Carlsbad Fire Chief Lopez reported to the commission that they are closing down Station 4 across from Happy’s and expanding Station 6 at the Carlsbad Municipal Airport.

Also on Tuesday, the commission received a presentation from Ty Allen, spokesperson for the Bureau of Land Management, on the Bureau’s Resource Management Plan.

The BLM held a series of public meeting during the month of September regarding future public land management actions in southeastern New Mexico, and was asked by the commission to give the board a presentation regarding the proposed actions.

The BLM Carlsbad Field Office invites the public to provide comments on a draft, comprehensive framework of the plan. The planning area under the proposed framework consists of about 6.2 million acres of land within a three-county area. This includes about 2.1 million acres of public surface lands and nearly 3 million acres of public lands in Eddy, Chaves and Lea counties. When complete, the revised plan will replace the 1988 Carlsbad Resource Management Plan.

Copies of the draft RMP/EIS are available for review online at the BLM website, www.blm.gov/new-mexico/carlsbad-rmp, at the Carlsbad Field Office, 620 E. Greene St., Carlsbad, the Hobbs Field Station, 414 W. Taylor, Hobbs, and the Pecos District Office, 2909 W. Second St., Roswell.

The 90-day public comment period began Aug. 3. The BLM will accept comments through Nov. 5 on the proposed plan. Comments can be submitted online through ePlanning, emailed to [email protected], or sent via mail to 620 E. Greene St. Carlsbad, N.M., 88220, Attn: Carlsbad RMP Team Lead.

In other business, Commission Larry Wood requested possibly increasing the funding for the spay/neuter veterinary animal program in North Eddy County for funding professional services. After discussion, the commission denied the request and stated that any further funding should come during mid-year budget requests.

Joshua Mack, Eddy County fire marshal, requested the commission approve the donation of 16 SCBA backpacks, 28 bottles, and 14 SCBA masks to San Miguel County volunteer fire departments. The commission approved the donation.