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County approves contract with Red Lake for road improvements

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Jeff Irving, roads superintendent for McKinley County, was present at the McKinley County Board of Commissioners meeting on Aug. 7 to present the contract with Red Lake Chapter #18 for improvement to three roads in the Red Lake community.

The project, Irving explained, has changed multiple times since its launch in 2012.

“We came up with a project we could use money for,” Irving said during the meeting.

Despite roadblocks in state funding, the county came to an agreement with Red Lake Chapter. At the time, Irving said the chapter had $50,000 to put into a project that at the time cost just under $100,000.

After that, both groups got the New Mexico Department of Transportation involved and it turned into a joint project. Irving said they got them on board with this project last December and the current cost was around $96,000.

Irving said NMDOT was willing to put up labor and materials, as well as equipment like milling machines, which reduced costs of the project. The figure Irving gave was around $66,000 after NMDOT had put in their contributions.

The one major change in the project figures over the past several years was the increase of the Navajo Nation tax, which went from 5 percent to 6 percent.

Irving said that the chapter people were aggressive and assertive for the roads in question, and that Red Lake will have to follow the county’s road systems and agree to the right of way procedures in place.

County Chairperson Genevieve Jackson said the current roads are filled with potholes that make travel tedious for the chapter residents, and that a project like this has been a long time coming.

The item was approved with a 3-0-0 vote.

By Cody Begaye

Sun Correspondent