Socorro County sign

At the Sep. 25 Socorro County Commission meeting, the main topic of discussion concerned the improvement and renovation of several older government buildings in the county.

County Manager Delilah Walsh brought up the issue of asbestos and popcorn ceilings in her office as well as at the Socorro County Courthouse and the Socorro Annex Building.

“There is no immediate danger,” Walsh said. “It’s when anytime this type of harmful material is disturbed that it becomes a potential hazard for the employees working in the facilities.”

Sheriff William Armijo also expressed concerns to commissioners about the sewage system in the Sheriff’s Office.

“I know we are a broke county, but our office has smelled like raw sewage for the past two weeks,” Armijo said. “It is getting to the point where we’re going to have to pitch up tents and work out of those. It really is that bad.”

The former Socorro County Detention Center, located just west of the Sheriff’s office, has been unoccupied since March 2016.

The piping between the two facilities is still shared, which Armijo believes is causing the smell issue in his office.

“It’s not a fault to anybody of course,” Armijo said. “This has been discussed many times as far as renovating that facility. But it might be too late. There’s mold on the walls. This is a building that has simply been forgotten. Now it is starting to negatively affect us.”

DWI Compliance Office head Theresa Rivera-Rosales also expressed concerns for a renovation of their office.

“Some of the walls are paper thin,” she said. “It’s a safety issue for both our clients as well as our counselors and staff trying to help people. Our staff is all trained and carry wasp spray. But we could use some improvements to the facility.”

The Commission will continue to look into and try to find the funds necessary to improve several of these older buildings.

In Other Commission News:

• Wage increases for detention center employees were approved so long as officers or other staff members have gone through and completed County sanctioned training programs in dealing with inmates suffering from mental health issues.