Seven residents took to the public comment portion of the Socorro County Board of Commissioners meeting to voice their concerns about the ten-speed humps on Schmittle Road in Lemitar.

Blake Rainsdon went first and told the board that he has lived on the Schmittle Road for ten years and has had no issues with speeding or reckless driving on the road, “after the speed humps were put into place, I was quite shocked.”

He said that, prior to the speed humps, during the rainy season the water would flow down the street into the lower area along the railroad tracks, now it forces water into his property and the property across the street.

“So, when the petition to have these speed humps removed came around, I gladly signed…I’m here today asking you to act on behalf of the majority of this community and have these speed humps removed,” Rainsdon said.

Barbara Barela, a resident of the road for 24 years and school bus driver, said that driving on that road four times a day with the bus is impossible without some type of damage to the bus and wondered how it might impact an emergency vehicle in a hurry.

“I thought there would also be a meeting similar to this one in which all the residents on Schmittle Road could discuss whether or not speed bumps would be a good fit for our road. I would have told you that two strategically placed speed bumps would not have been terrible. To my knowledge, no meeting ever took place or if it did, I was never notified. There are a total of 10 speed bumps on Schmittle Road in eight tenths of a mile,” Barela said.

Five others including Linda Rosales, Sherri Prather, Josh Walker, Pam McGroarty and Gwen Luna, who live on the road or use it frequently, expressed similar concerns. They spoke to the lack of accidents or speeding on the road, questioned the process of the decision and felt that the number of humps were excessive.

“We feel like we have been overrun and we just want you to hear our voices and listen to what we’re saying because we live there,” Luna said.

Hop Canyon Road
Janet Cliff also spoke during public comment with ongoing concerns about work done on Hop Canyon Road.

Cliff said she had several concerns, “How does Socorro County intend to mitigate the drainage problem on the west side runoff adding to the heavy runoff already on the east side? If the original engineering study is flawed, how is it flawed? Why is the original problematic situation now beneficial? Where is the new engineering study with another solution and when will it be implemented? How is this current situation different types of Socorro County paying for the 2019 Hub canyon road improvement?”
She also questioned procedures, wasting taxpayer money and why she hadn’t received the three engineering studies or auditor review she requested over two weeks ago.

Hawkes resignation
The resignation of County Manager Michael Hawkes was announced at the meeting and commissioners voted to run a job announcement for a county manager for three weeks.
The resignation letter said “It is with a heavy heart that I tender my resignation effective today, March 8, 2024. I want to thank the Commission for everything, but I am just not recovering at the speed I thought that I might. At this time, I need to take care of me and my family.

Cost of Living adjustment
A personnel cost-of-living adjustment was approved which would be a percentage raise for employees; a loan and intercept agreement with NMFA in the amount of 1.7 million dollars for the purchase of a new fire administration building was approved; and a letter to New Mexico Governor to appeal for a declaration of a state of emergency regarding the fentanyl crisis, human smuggling and crime in New Mexico was also approved.

The next meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. on March 26.