Commission discusses credit cards, demolition

Russell Anglin

Besides a lengthy discussion of city rules pertaining to the decoration and maintenance of Tucumcari Memorial Cemetery Park, Tucumcari city commissioners addressed multiple issues at their city hall meeting Thursday.

In his report to the commission, city finance director Dennis Dysart said credit card payments cost the city $12,000 yearly in processing fees. He said debit and credit card payments make up approximately 200 of the 2,600 invoices the city receives monthly. Of those 200 card payments, between 40 and 60 are credit card payments and the rest are debit card payments.

Council voted to discontinue credit and debit card payments for bills issued by the city effective Jan. 1. Citizens who disagree with the policy change can petition the council to reverse the decision, city manager Bobbye Rose said.

The commission also weighed options for funding an initiative to demolish the downtown Sands Dorsey building which was damaged by fire in June 2007. Commissioner Robert Lumpkin said the building would cost the city $500,000 to demolish, largely because it contains asbestos materials and lead-based paint.

“Every piece of that building needs to be taken to a hazardous waste landfill,” Rose said, agreeing with Lumpkin.

Commissioners explored possible sources for funding the building’s takedown, including re-allocating the .25 percent Ute Lake water tax toward the initiative and seeking funding from the New Mexico Department of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I asked the commission and Bobbye that we start pursuing, again, every avenue possible to get this money to get this building down,” Lumpkin said.

Citing a decrease in state and federal grant money and the need to fund other upcoming city initiatives, Mayor Jim Witcher proposed the commission consider an additional .25 percent sales tax to fund the Sands Dorsey building demolition.

“Nobody likes to raise taxes, but if we raise this tax, if we go for a tax of one quarter of one penny, I believe that … at least half of that is going to be paid by the people who travel through Tucumcari and don’t live here,” Witcher said. “In my mind there comes a point in time where we say ‘Okay, we’ve got to step up and take care of us.'”

The commission will vote on the funding issue at its Nov. 11 meeting, 6 p.m. at city hall.