BERNALILLO — Sandoval County Commissioners improved compensation for new detention officers at their meeting Wednesday evening at the county administration building.

The unanimous vote raised the starting wage for Sandoval County Detention Center officers to $17.50 an hour, from $15. According to county information, the change brings SCDC pay in line with other jails in the state, making the county competitive in the market for detention officers.

Also, the measure changed the threshold of when new, probationary detention officers and those not represented by the union start receiving overtime pay. That mark is now 80 hours in two weeks, instead of the previous 86 hours.

SCDC Director Gilbert Armendariz said the changes mirror the agreement between the county and the union. They cost a little more than $198,000, according to the county.

In another matter, commissioners voted unanimously to hire Nieto Custom Builders for almost $191,000 to oversee construction of the new facility for the sheriff’s office and emergency operations center.

“Basically, their job is to help us make sure the job is done correctly,” said county Public Works Director Mark Hatzenbuhler.

The money is coming from the American Rescue Plan Act, legislative allocations and bond funds, according to county information.

He said the county’s in-house construction management position is open, and even if it were filled, there are too many projects for one person to manage them all. Nieto Custom Builders was the only company to respond to a request for quotes, Hatzenbuhler said.

The commission also approved Election Day polling places for 2022 and 2023, and heard or discussed other election-related topics without taking action. Those topics included speakers in the public forum expressing distrust in county elections because they believe voter rolls are inflated and the vote tabulators can be manipulated via the internet, and Commissioner Jay Block complaining that absentee-ballot drop boxes were insecure.