It has been a long time coming, with subdivision growth continuing throughout Grant County, and now the county is finally moving to create a planning department.
County Manager, Jon Saari, said the county has discussed the issue for some time and began looking at hiring a planner while working on this year's fiscal budget.
"We looked at it with this last budget, but we could not afford to hire someone," he said.
Instead, the county has moved former Roads Superintendent Anthony Gutierrez into the position of planning director on what Saari is calling a six-month trial basis.
"The county has realized that a planning department is essential," he said. "Anthony is serving a six-month probationary period and is tasked with pulling the department together."
Saari said many of the needed offices already exist in the county — there is are codes enforcement officer, a mapper and others, as well as the geographical information system used to map out areas of the county and define areas as private, public and their land-use restrictions.
Gutierrez has been with the county 10 years, eight of those as roads superintendent and two as an engineering/planning technician.
photo and copy courtesy Silver City Sun-News
Grant County Planning Department:
Anthony Gutierrez, Director
Angela Castillo, GIS & Information Systems Specialist
Alisha Esquivel, Planning Specialist
Dolores "Dori" Dominguez, Subdivision/Ordinance Officer
Gilbert Helton, Code Enforcement/Emergency Manager
Gary Benavidez, Fire Management Officer
Violet Villegas, Mapping
Jennifer Barraza, Mapping Tech