Ute Lake Ranch officials express commitment to water

By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun

By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun
A representative of Ute Lake Ranch expressed the company’s committment to water quality during Monday’s Quay County Commission meeting.

The Commission received a report from Lonnie Phelps, the engineer of Ute Lake Ranch, a planned community to take up 25,000 acres.

Phelps brought in plans, which had previously been unanimously approved by the Commission. The plans were made officials at the meeting after being signed by Commission Chairman Franklin McCasland.

Though they support the project, officials of cities neighboring Tucumcari have expressed concerns about the future quality of water in the Ute Lake Reservoir. Phelps told commissioners that water quality is a high priority, and the business is creating reports for the Interstate Stream Commission that detail what regulations they have to comply with, and what they’re doing to achieve those ends.

“We’re trying to ensure the ISC that we are taking every measure possible … to ensure the water quality of Ute Reservoir.”

The ISC owns the reservoir and can set rules and guidelines for the water’s use.

In other business regarding the Ute Reservoir, McCasland said the usage contract for the reservoir has been extended for two years. McCasland said no other terms have changed in the contract.

In other business at Monday’s meeting:

• Quay County Fire Marshal Donald Adams spoke with commissioners about pending legislation on fire fund distributions.

House Bill 497 is waiting for approval from Gov. Bill Richardson. It would make available more money for the state’s Fire Protection Fund. Adams said that money could be used for fuel expenses.

McCasland said the state’s dry conditions and numerous grass fires should be all the evidence Richardson needed to approve the bill.

• The Commission approved four resolutions, three of them dealing with transferring funds from one category to another for Quay Fire Districts 1 and 3 and the Bard-Endee Fire Department. The other resolution transferred funds to different areas in the sheriff’s department.

• Commissioners traded Columbus Day for Dec. 26 as a county holiday on the calendar following a vote from many county employees. A request was sent to department heads on the matter, and many of those department heads turned the input request into an employee vote.

County employees will now work on Columbus Day and take off Dec. 26, which falls on a Tuesday, to make the Christmas holiday a four-day weekend.