Governor declares county in state of emergency

By Tova Fruchtman

Governor Bill Richardson signed an executive order after the snowstorm Tuesday declaring a state of emergency in seven New Mexico counties, including Quay.

The county will be eligible for a 75 percent reimbursement for expenses incurred while dealing with the storm.

County Manager Terry Turner said most of the county’s expenses will be paying overtime to road workers trying to clear the 1,162 miles of county road.

“There’s a lot of dedicated people trying to help the situation,” Turner said.

Larry Moore, Quay county road superintendent, said blade workers would probably be working through the weekend to clear every road in the county.

The problem they had was making sure not to destroy the roads, so blades could only be run on them in the early morning hours when the snow and ice were still frozen, Moore said.

At 4 a.m. each day since Tuesday six blade men have been working in San Jon, Nara Visa, Logan, House, Tucumcari, Wheatland, McAlister, Montoya and Quay, Moore said.

They work by order of priority he explained. Roads to the homes of elderly and sick people were cleared first, then school and mail routes.

“It takes a while to get everywhere,” Moore said.
His advice: “Mainly, just be patient and give me a call to let me know, so I can make sure they get done. We’ll try to accommodate people as soon as we can.”

Turner said the county has already submitted a budget to the Department of Financial Services and he expects that Quay will get the money they need to help pay the roads department employees wages he thinks are well deserved.
“(Moore has) been busting his tail,” Turner said. “I’m sitting in a warm toasty office and he’s out there on the front lines.”