BernCo Compass Preview: Strip Clubs, Floods, Minimum Wage and Jail


By Marisa Demarco

— Familiar topics are slated for discussion at tonight’s meeting of the County Commission: Some have been sparking controversy in Albuquerque proper for months. Commissioners have the minimum wage hike on their plates (the measure to boost it went into effect citywide, not countywide.) They’ve got the Sexually Oriented Business Ordinance, a measure cracking down on strip clubs that also went through the City Council last year.

A unique concern in Bernalillo County—and perhaps one of the biggest and most expensive issues facing the Commission—is an overcrowded Metropolitan Detention Center.

Methadone at MDC: Late last year, jail officials announced MDC would ax its methadone program for heroin-addicted inmates. About 140 people were using the program. Methadone was provided by Recovery Services, a contractor that quadrupled its fee suddenly.

Recovery experts argued that yanking methadone from the jail suddenly is inhumane and could be dangerous.

Tonight, the Commission will consider whether to approve a four-month extension of the contract with the methadone provider, which would cost about $150,000. Commissioners will also weigh whether to keep the program in place in the long-term or find some alternative, such as hiring someone else to administer the drug.

• Prison Rape Prevention: The Metropolitan Detention Center was awarded a grant for almost $300,000 to help stop sexual assault in the jail. “MDC will develop comprehensive mechanisms for preventing, identifying and responding to sexual victimization within the facility,” according to the agenda. Staff will have to be hired by the county to use the grant money, and additional labor will cost BernCo about $250,000, so the Commission has to approve it.

• SV Floods: When it rains, water can run down the streets in the South Valley, flooding yards and even houses. If the Commission approves a contract, Wilson & Company will begin phase two of the Southwest Valley Flood Reduction Project. The Isleta, Armijo and Los Padillas drains will be widened, and a new channel would be built to connect them to the Rio Grande. Phase two is expected to be finished in August.

The meeting will be at 5 p.m. tonight in the Vincent E. Griego chambers in the basement of City Hall. View the full agenda at