NM Municipal League begins 47th annual conference

TV Hagenah

For the second time in its 47 years of existence, the New Mexico Municipal League is holding it annual meeting in Tucumcari.

Because the meeting which officially begins today has brought over 600 members of the league from every municipality in New Mexico to Tucumcari to discuss and oversee a number of different topics, many area innkeepers are looking forward to the meeting being held here. The meeting will run through Friday with activities centered at the Tucumcari Convention Center. “We’re full up Wednesday and Thursday,” said Larry Bond owner of Travelers Motor Inn on Route 66 Boulevard about reservations that have come in related to the Municipal League meeting. “This is very good for my business. I can tell you.”

Bond said that no other event this summer has been as good for the occupancy of his establishment as the Municipal League meeting.

Most other motel owners and managers in Tucumcari agreed with Bond as to the effect of the meeting on their business. Hilda Bakke of the Blue Swallow on east Route 66 Boulevard said that the classic 50s style motel had indeed seen a spike in reservations for the next two days.
“We’re pretty much booked up for the next couple of days,” said Bakke about reservations for Wednesday and Thursday. “I used to be down in Las Cruces” said Bond “and we always tried to get it there because it was that good for business.”

Tucumcari Convention Center director Ron Wilmot said it would not be just motels benefitting from the influx of people for the annual meeting. He pointed to stores, restaurants and specialty shops. “This will be good for a lot of people in Tucumcari,” said Wilmot about the gathering.

Mike Callens of TeePee Curios on east Route 66 Boulevard said he is taking a wait-and-see attitude about the whole event. He said he hopes it will help what has otherwise been something of a lackluster summer but doesn’t really have too many expectations. “We’ll see,” said Callens, “but one thing I do hope is that those cities and towns that are growing can share some of that knowledge with our people.”

Wilmot said everything is in place and working for the three day event and virtually all of the credit goes to the employees and officials of the city. “They have worked so hard getting ready for this,” said Wilmot, “and it’s been everybody. They’ve been mowing lawns, painting, putting in light bulbs, putting up signs. They’ve been doing everything.” Wilmot said they have even been borrowing some things like chairs and tables from different places in the community so an adequate number will be available. “We want these people to see a very good side of Tucumcari,” said Wilmot.

At least one person attending said she is “thrilled” to be in Tucumcari taking part in the annual meeting. “I just love Tucumcari,” said Municipal League Intergovernmental Liaison Regina Romero. “The first annual meeting I ever attended back in the 70s was here so it’s like a homecoming for me.” Romero said she is especially impressed with the Tucumcari Convention Center which will house all of the events of the gathering except for Thursday night’s Rockin’ on Route 66 which will be held in the Quay County Fair Barn. “It is a wonderful facility,” said Romero about the convention center. Romero said despite such distraction as the entertainments, rock ‘n’ roll concert on Thursday, the golf tournament, the fun run and the dances, the primary purpose of the meeting is, “to get serious business done.” She pointed to specific workshops dealing with conservation and efficient use of water, economic development and “Effective Governance Through Consensus Building” as examples of what the officials will be working on.

Wilmot said that nine different “subsections” within city government such as judges, librarians, different types of clerks, city managers, police chiefs, environmental quality heads, city attorneys and fire chiefs will be taking part in the various workshops and meetings. This also includes public works employees who will take part in a public works rodeo.