Letter to editor

Letter to the Editor

8-2-04
In last Saturday’s edition of the Quay County Sun City Commissioner Maestas states and I quote from the article, “City Commissioner Chris Maestas said he and fellow Commissioner Antonio Apodaca voted against the utility rate hikes but were outvoted 3-2 by Commissioners Betty Ditto and Jim Witcher and Mayor Mary Mayfield.

“My argument against the rate hikes was simply that there are a lot of poor people in Tucumcari,” said Maestas. “Three dollars a month or so extra doesn’t seem like a lot of money to many people, but to someone on a fixed income it is a significant amount. I believe the city commission could have explored other options further.”

This statement bothered me. It also bothered me that two Commissioners voted against something that I believe had to be done. Don’t misunderstand. No one wanted to or liked the idea of raising utility fees. My inquisitive mind started working so I did a little investigating. I discovered that the four commissioners that were in place before I was elected to represent District 3 had four separate work sessions on the city budget. In these work sessions, they discussed all aspects of the budget including the necessity of raising the Utility rates.

Then in the May 27 City Commission meeting, from the minutes of that meeting, “Mayor Apodaca called on City Manager Primrose to present Resolution 2004-19, A BUDGET ADOPTION RESOLUTION FOR THE 2004-2005 FISCAL YEAR.” and “After discussion by the Commission, a motion for approval of Resolution 2004-19 was made by Commissioner Maestas and seconded by Commissioner Mayfield. Roll Call: Ditto-yes, Apodaca-yes, Mayfield-yes, Maestas-yes. Obviously (at least it is to me) the decision to raise the Utility rates was made during these worksessions prior to May 27.

I do not feel that it was fair to try to make others the public scapegoat for something that had already been decided. Especially knowing that we are bound by state mandates concerning the number of qualified city employees and other areas concerning our water supply. Also our greatest concern, in my opinion, should be that today’s citizens and our future citizens have a quality water, sewer, and trash system.

Sincerely
Jim Witcher