Commission OKs rate hike on reconnects

By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun

Charges were raised for utility reconnections and city officials reminded residents the city would offer free access to the landfill Saturday. Those were the highlights of a quick Tucumcari City Commission meeting on Thursday night.

With two commissioners out and a light agenda, the three commissioners in attendance breezed through business in approximately 15 minutes, which Commissioner Jim Witcher joked might have been a record.

Witcher was acting in the capacity of mayor, as Mayor Mary Mayfield was out with sickness and Antonio Apodaca, mayor pro tem, was attending a commissioner training session in Roswell.

Reconnection charges on utilities, during regular business hours, were raised from $10 to $25. Reconnections on weekends, holidays and weekdays after 5 p.m. will be $50.

City Manager Richard Primrose said the increase needed to be made because the city was losing money every time a customer was reconnected.

“It takes two guys (to reconnect a customer’s utilities) and sometimes it takes a whole afternoon,” Primrose said, “and $10 is not covering our costs.”

The increase passed 3-0.

Lisa Andrada, a grant writer with the city, addressed the Commission regarding $100,000 for the planning, design, construction and equipping of a municipal swimming pool for the city. The money was appropriated to the city through capital outlay funds earlier this year, and Andrada said the contract required the funds to be used for a pool before June 30, 2010.

“Hopefully we can use it by then,” Andrada said.

In other business:

• Citizens were reminded of the city cleanup scheduled for this morning. Primrose said that in conjunction with the trash pickup, city residents would be able to have free usage of the city landfill from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today instead of the normal $5 per truckload fee.

Primrose said residents would need to show proof of residency (i.e. a utility bill) and that normal disposal fees would remain for tires.

• Commissioners voted to approve a cooperative marketing program to seek grants from the New Mexico Department of Tourism. The grants would be used for billboard advertisements for the city.

• A lease was renewed between the city and the Tucumcari/Quay County Chamber of Commerce for use of the chamber’s building on Tucumcari Boulevard. The lease is $10, covering a period of 10 years.

• Commissioners approved a lease between Space Data Corporation and the Tucumcari Municipal Airport to use part of the airport for the launching and storage of weather balloons.

• Commissioners approved Judy Ross as the Quay County liason to the city’s library board.