City declares disaster

by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

City commissioners declared the weeked of Dec. 29-31 a disaster in Tucumcari because of the additional snow clean-up and the costs of managing about 7,500 extra motorists and semis in the city over New Year’s weekend.

Commissioners took this action at their Thursday night meeting, so that they could recoup of some of their expenditures in tandem with Gov. Bill Richardson’s declaration of a state of disaster on Dec. 30 because of the heavy snow fall.

“With this resolution we can apply to the state for reimbursement” of equipment and man-hours costs, said Richard Primrose, city manager.

Quay County Commissioners passed a similar resolution at their Monday meeting to recoup some of their costs as well.
The New Year’s weekend, when about 7,500 stranded motorists and truckers descended on Tucumcari, also brought some kudos for the city.

Mayor Mary Mayfield read letters from two families who stayed in the shelter at Rhodes Field House at the Tucumcari High School in which they thanked the city for its hospitality. One of the letters came from Richard and Theresa Meagher of Inverness, Ill., who said “On Dec. 29, we were among the recipients of your hospitality at the high school gym on 7th Street., where a preacher (his self-description) and a lady were the overseers. She told me the Elks, Fire Department, Police Department and community contributed to supplying the shelter.

“It was well organized. Two policemen walking through talking with folks gave a secure feeling.
“Thank you so much.”

The Meaghers also enclosed a $200 check, noting that it was “to reimburse some of your expenses so your good deeds may continue to help stranded travelers.”
Mayfield, Primrose and the commissioners thanked city workers, volunteers and citizens of Tucumcari for their work, dedication and hospitality given to the many stranded tourists.

Primrose also said the city’s Fire Chief, Mike Cherry, and firefighter, Kaylon Lafferty, were called out to help in Clayton for two days. The fire department has a command truck with a state-of-the-art communications system which was put to use in providing Clayton’s recovery efforts, Primrose said.

In other business before the commission was the:
• Approval of a $290,755 construction contract with Versatile Construction Inc. of Tucumcari for work on Adams Street and Estrella Avenue. Doug Powers, director the city’s Community Development, said he would be meeting next week with the contractor and with business owners in the area. He said he hoped to work out a plan with business owners so that their businesses would have the least amount of disruption during the repairs. Versatile is expected to complete its work within 60 days.

• Approval of billboard contracts recommended by the Lodgers’ Tax Board for advertising the city to motorists. In the past, not all of the city’s billboards were lighted. With the new contract, nearly all the billboards will be lighted, said commissioner James Lafferty.

• Approval of the Tucumcari Medical Services, $32,700, and Fire department’s $12,500, funding program application for the fiscal year 2008 by the City’s Fire Department to the New Mexico Department of Health.