The Tucumcari City Commission received a petition in opposition to a potential purchase of property to create a joint office for the city and Quay County.
Sue Dowell said during the Thursday city commission meeting that the petition included more than 600 signatures from Tucumcari and Quay County residents against the purchase of a building currently used by Wells Fargo Bank. She said the current economic situation is not favorable for purchase of the building.
“The residents have already endured raised taxes, increased fees for services, and a reduction of services,” Dowell said. “There have been some (reductions in) city employees’ salaries and benefits.”
City Manager Bobbye Rose said there is no purchase or agreement to purchase any building, and that the city and county have only submitted a non-binding letter of intent to express interest. She said the letter was a necessary step in researching the building.
“We don’t want to buy a money pit,” Rose said. “The roof is a major concern for our insurance. We want to know if this building was purchased how much would future repairs cost.”
Rose said a combined building would lower utility and insurance costs and allow for the relocation of emergency medical service personnel.
“We have been working to increase the city’s efficiency,” Rose said.
For the county, the issues are overcrowding and red tape.
“The easiest answer is we are out of room,” said County Manager Richard Primrose, adding that, “any additions or renovations to (the courthouse) have to be approved by the New Mexico Historical Preservation Division.”
Dowell said city and county officials often say in public meetings that money is tight, and budgets are constantly being adjusted for shortfalls — so she doesn’t understand why they are considering spending more than $1 million for a new building.
“Why do they want to place more economic burden on the citizens,” Dowell said. “The city should concentrate on fixing the roads and drawing jobs to the town.”
Dowell asked that the city commissioners place a item on the next city commission meeting agenda, allowing for a vote on whether to continue the process. Mayor Pro Tem Antonio Apodaca granted the request, and said he did not believe the city and county were in position to purchase the building. “We want to hear the public’s concerns and thoughts on this matter,” Rose said. “ We hope the community has enough trust in their commissioners and managers to make the best decision.”