The Otero County Commissioners had some good news at their first weekly meeting in April.

The Otero County Commissioners had some good news at their first weekly meeting in April. Economic Development Coordinator Danelle Berg was successful in her request for an extension of time for the Community Development Block Grant, two years, and also in obtaining additional money, $174,000. This amount, combined with the remaining balance of the current grant, $76,812, brings the total available funds to more than the $250,000 requested. Loans made under the current CDBG totaled $149,300, plus administration fee of $23,888. This CDBG was to expire at the end of April 2017 but has now been extended through April 2019. It was Berg's pleasure to ask for the signatures of the commissioners on this Amendment 1, a good outcome to her request several weeks ago to apply for the extension and the additional money.

CDBG money is used to back business ventures which are solid but lack the collateral for regular bank loans. They provide fostering for new jobs in new ventures. The current loans have backed five businesses and fostered 10 jobs.

In other business, explanations were given for expenditures with Johnson Control's Planned Service Agreement and Rocky Mountain Micro Imaging Scanning Projects. The rules under which the commissioners operate require going out for bids on projects costing more than $5,000. However, in situations such as building climate control (Johnson) and converting records to digital files (RMMI), the matter of compatible software had to be considered and changing companies is costly when the devices are not compatible with software and hardware in use.

A three-year contract was entered into with Johnson Controls for quarterly inspections. The first year of the original term will be $6,414. Pricing for each subsequent year is to be determined. In 2017 the Clerk and Recorder's Office will continue scanning of the Grantor/Grantee books for an amount not to exceed $25,000. Additional records digitizing will be done in the Department of Human Services for $5,000 and Treasurer's Office scanning the tax rolls for an amount not to exceed $22,000.

In addition to digitizing the records, the company will back up the files in a separate location and also furnish backup files to the county.

A Retail Warehouse Storage Permit Application by The Beer Joint was approved. An additional fee was required because the storage unit is a separate building, said County Clerk Sharon Sisnroy.

Donna Rohde reported the Low Income Energy Assistance Program is in its final stages for the year, with the third final client ($329), client advance ($55) and vendor ($16,933.66) payrolls in. Qualified persons may still apply for LEAP assistance during the month of April. So far this year, 1171 applications have been accepted, 95 denied and eight are pending (these were requested last week). Last year at this time, 93 were pending, indicating to Rohde people now have a better understanding of the program. The average payment this year was $493, more than last year's average payment.

Department of Human Services administration payroll for March was $87,006.46. February's administrative payroll was amended to be $101,500.85 from the original amount of $101,808.07, due to the cancellation and re-issuing of some checks. Other warrants in the amount of $1,084.71 were canceled, also.

Berg reported the mapping has been done of the territories of current providers, regarding the broadband grant. Community meetings to determine needs will begin on May 2. Meetings will be held both during the day and in the evening.

Sheriff's offices, private prisons and the state continue to meet to determine a solution of the overcrowding of jails in the southern area of the state. Consideration is being given to re-opening of Huerfano facility.