County commissioners to vie for funds

By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS

If all goes according to plan, County Manager Terry Turner said Quay could be $600,000 richer to help pay for its top three priorities.

Quay County commissioners will get a chance to vie for these funds Monday through Wednesday when they attend the New Mexico Midwinter Conference in Santa Fe.

The county’s priorities, limited to three by Gov. Bill Richardson, include the agriculture/education building at the fairgrounds, county upgrades on buildings and property and road money for projects and equipment, Turner said.

In addition to the daylong meetings, Turner said the conference includes dinners and opportunities to meet with state representatives, some of whom he had already contacted.

“I sent copies of all this to (State Rep.) Brian Moore in Clayton, lobbying for our top three. I’m passing it to Bill Curry with Senator (Clinton) Harden for help in Clovis,” he said.

Turner said a major part of the conference is Tuesday’s Legislative Night.

“It’s the biggest day for county players,” Turner said. “We try to sell how important our priorities are for the county.”

Does Turner actually like doing this stuff?

“What is good for me is the networking I can do with other county managers,” Turner said. “I get to sit in on meetings and discuss everything from prisoner costs to road upgrades to personnel issues — you name it. We find out what’s going well in other counties and where there’s opposition.”

Turner said he’s about 90 percent sure Quay will get funds for the issues at hand, but only about 10 percent sure it will be in the amount that’s being sought.

“Last year we asked for $500,000 and got $100,000,” he said. “But this year there is more money available. We are hoping to do better for education.”

Write a letter:

Personal letters are better than form letters or petitions.

Be clear about what you want, listing the bill, etc.

Tell a story or example to make the issue real.

Ask for a direct response with his or her position.

Plan a visit:
Every citizen has the right to seek a meeting with their legislator, councilperson or other elected representative.

Keep the group small (four to five people).

Make the group diverse.

Discuss in advance how to handle the meeting.

Be direct but not threatening.

Know the facts.

Leave informational material with the official.

Try to arrange the visit on local turf. Invite the person to tour a clinic or whatever facility or site that conveys the message in real and human terms.

Establish a relationship with staff. Staff people are generally more accessible than the official and can usually help get the message through.