Authority takes steps to prep application for racino

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

At the first meeting of the Quay County Gaming Authority on Tuesday, the commission made fast work of a 16-item agenda.

All the items are paving the way to make an application to the state for an estimated $30 million race track and casino operation in Tucumcari.

Authority members represent the city of Tucumcari, the villages of Logan and San Jon and Quay County.

In its first 90-minute meeting, among the decisions made by the authority were: appointment of an executive director, approval to send out three requests for proposals for certain jobs, to hire an engineering consultant, and approval of the name for a Web site name and to hire a Web site designer, selection of a bank and the redistribution of the membership of the authority.

The commission voted on officers for the authority. They are: president, Franklin McCasland, chairman of the Quay County Commission; vice president, Mary Mayfield, mayor of the city of Tucumcari; and vice chairman, Bobbye Rose, manager of the Village of San Jon.

Earlier in the day, the Quay County Commission held a special meeting and revised its membership for the authority. Its selected members for the authority are commissioners McCasland and Bill Curry. It’s alternates are commissioner Robert Lopez and Quay County manager Richard Primrose.

The authority appointed Logan attorney Warren Frost as its executive director. Frost said that he will work for $1 per year. Frost has been the project coordinator for the Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corp. which promoted a joint powers agreement between the municipalities to create the Quay County Gaming Authority.
The actions taken by the authority included:

l Hiring the consultant F. Douglas Reed, who is the director of the Race Track Industry Program at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Prior to joining the university, Reed was a vice president for Santa Fe Racing, Inc., operators of the Downs at Santa Fe. Reed services will cost $150 per hour and $1,200 per day.
l Hiring Michael Sorensen of Logan Business Systems to design a Web site for the authority: The authority will pay Sorensen about $700 to design and maintain the site.

l Hiring Robert Evetts for engineering services to serve as a consultant and review proposals. His fee is $50 per hour.

l Approving requests for proposals for an architect/engineering firm for construction of a race track and casino design, development and operation.
l Approving the redistribution of percentage in membership of the authority. Initially, the Village of House was included in the proposed joint powers agreement to create the authority. However, House agreed not join. With a distribution of 40 percent for the city of Tucumcari, 30 percent for Quay County, 15 percent for Logan, 10 percent for San Jon, that left House’s five percent open for grabs.

San Jon village manager Bobbye Rose said, “I’m asking that it be given to San Jon.”
Rose said it was the village’s hope that a racino operation would open up more housing opportunities in San Jon and offset any competitive impacts from trucking operations planned at Endee and in Tucumcari.

All the authority members voted to give San Jon the five percent, except for the Mayor of Logan, David Babb.
In other discussions before the authority, Mayfield asked for a time limit on the city’s commitment to distribute a third of its economic develop tax to the GTEDC, which is paying for a portion of putting together the application for the racino. Other funds are coming from the four government entities participating in the authority.
“Go to your communities and have them pay up,” Frost said.

While its not necessary to have an architect and management company in place to apply to the state for a “racino,” aka race track and casino, it demonstrates to the state that the Quay County Gaming Authority is serious about its application, Frost said.

“It shows that we’re ready to go,” Frost said. “It’s key to making the application.”
The costs for putting together the application are estimated to be more than $100,000.

The authority agreed to meet next at 1:30 a.m. on May 14 and at 9 a.m. on May 17. At these meetings, it will review responses from architects and race track/casino management firms.