Public welfare tough for state to define

By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun

Defining “public welfare” is a challenge for a state so diversified as New Mexico, Quay County Commissioner Franklin McCasland said Monday as he updated fellow commissioners on the Feb. 28 New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission Ad Hoc committee meeting.

McCasland said the committee is working to make sure all 16 water regions are accurately represented in a state water plan, and that public welfare is one of the hardest areas to form any agreement.

State law allows entities to deny water deals that harm “public welfare,” but there is no clarification as to what can and cannot be included in public welfare. McCasland said it’s a tough definition for a state when some areas include reservoirs, some include forests and others are nearly deserts.

“The problem,” McCasland said, “is that New Mexico is such a diversified state.”

In other business at the meeting:

• Commissioners approved resolutions for the clerk’s office and Quay Fire District No. 3 that authorized the transfer of internal funds.

• The Quay County Community Health Plan for 2006 was approved. The plan lists eight priorities for Maternal Child and Community Healthcare Council. The top priority was substance abuse.

“It affects all the (other) priorities in one way or another,” MCCH Council member Adrian Chavaria said.

Other priorities included suicide, teen pregnancy, and health care access.

• County Clerk Ellen White reported on delinquent occupation licenses. The licenses are purchased by Quay County residents who intend to do business outside of Tucumcari. The city government handles licenses inside city limits. White said 10 licenses were delinquent, accounting for about $189. License costs are determined by gross receipts from the previous year, White said.

• Commissioners signed a $60,000 loan contract for the Porter Fire District. The loan had been previously approved before paperwork was supplied by the state finance authority, County Manager Terry Turner said, and the district has already repaid a substantial portion of the loan.