City seeking 8 percent water rate hike

Thomas Garcia

The Tucumcari City Commission approved the first reading of a proposed eight percent increase to city water rates Tuesday.

City Manager Bobbye Rose said the increase will help to balance the city’s budget. She said a special workshop was held Monday to try and develop a city budget for 2009-2010.

“No decision was made at that workshop,” Rose said. “We will hold another workshop to try and develop the budget at a later date.”
Each of the commissioners had a chance to review the proposed increase at the workshop, Rose said. The reading was the first of two required before the increase can be voted on by the commission.

“There will be publication of the increase in the newspapers as required by state law,” Rose said. “This will give the public time to review the increase and protest it if they choose.”

The next reading will be at the 6 p.m., June 15 city commission meeting.

The first reading was approved without commissioner Jim Lafferty’s support.

Lafferty voted against the increase because of wording in the ordinance locking the rate the city can charge for water through a hydrant.
“I feel that the water should be sold at a fair and equitable rate,” Lafferty said. “The way that this is worded locks the city into charging that rate all the time. It is simply not fair to lock in a rate.”

Another issue resulting in split decisions among the commissioners were requests for donations by civic groups from the city.

The Quay County Relay for Life requested a reimbursement of $240 for money the group spent during its Relay for Life event on June 12.

A motion by commissioner Robert Lumpkin to approve the reimbursement failed for lack of a second.

“It is not anything against the organization,” said Mayor Protem Jim Witcher. “We need to set a precedent for this type of request.”

Witcher said it is simply about what governments can and can not do. He said the commission did not want to open the city up to future such requests.

Later in the meeting Chris Sandoval of Elks Lodge #1172 requested a donation of $2,800 for the annual fireworks display.

The commission approved the $2,800 without the support of Mayor Antonio Apodaca, who voted against the motion.

‘How can we set a precedent when we donate money to another organization minutes later?” Apodaca said. “I feel that the Relay for Life is a very important organization that benefits Tucumcari. Yet, we voted not to approve funding for them.”

Lafferty said the Elks have split the cost of the fireworks display every year with the city.

“Most cities have to pay for the entire fireworks display themselves,” Lafferty said. “The Elks act as an entity which splits that cost for the benefit for the entire city.”

Proposed water rate increase amounts:
Monthly rate
Fire Hydrant, Per 1,000 gallons
From $1.69 to $2.19
Inside City
Residential (per 1,000 gallons)
First 3,000 gallons
$12.60 to $13.61
3,001 to 50,000
$2.56 to $2.76
50,001 and above
$2.79 to $ 3.01
Commercial (per 1,000 gallons)
First 3,000 gallons: $16.00- $17.28
3,001 to 50,000: $2.56 to $2.76
50,001 and above: $2.79 to $ 3.01
Discontinuance, reconnect fees
$40, regular business hours;