Citizens question city’s annexation plan

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

Twenty-two residents attended a workshop on Tuesday by the City Commission to discuss annexation of properties just outside the Tucumcari’s city limits.

Commissioner Jim Witcher outlined potential advantages to residents and the city.

For individuals, Witcher said, there could be:
• Savings in fire insurance
• More voting privileges and representation in city elections
• Quicker fire and police response time.

For the city, Witcher said, there could be:
• Additional gross receipt taxes from existing or new business brought in through annexation
• Increased revenue
• A more cohesive city.

Two people from the audience addressed the proposed annexation.

Attorney Albert J. Mitchell asked the commission if livestock was going to be prohibited by an ordnance once his property was inside the city limits and if the ordinance for the grass, weeds and mesquite on his property would require him to clean all of his property.

Responding, Witcher said, if annexation were approved city ordinances could be amended and accommodate livestock.

For example, present city ordinances are currently being updated and up for review at a workshop in two weeks, Witcher said. One possible change could be a new classification of land for agricultural and a rezoning for livestock.

“I am very pleased with the outcome,” said Mitchell. “The commission gave us a chance to come in and voice our opinions and take part in their discussion. Now, they have an idea about the concerns of the people who live just outside of (current) Tucumcari (city limits).”

Another citizen attending the workshop asked if would he be able to drill a well inside city limits. Commissioner Jim Lafferty said wells could be drilled inside the city limits, but the well water is to be used for landscaping and livestock purposes. A residence is required to be hooked up to the city’s water system.

After hearing the public’s concerns, Lafferty suggested the commission scale back its annexation plans and focus on areas that are being developed instead of incorporating a large area in one fell swoop.

Lafferty said the city’s police department was already stretched and if annexation occurred, it would be responsible for a larger service area. Commissioners Antonio Apodaca, Christopher Maestas and City Manager John Sutherland agreed.

“The city is already struggling to provide their current tax-paying citizens with services such as road maintenance and water,” said Sutherland.

“If we annexed such a large area, we would then be liable to provide the services we are struggling to provide to the new residences.”