Residents talk issues with area legislators

More than 50 county residents attended a legislative meeting Wednesday to discuss priorities and issues with area legislators.

QCS Staff Photo: Thomas Garcia

State Senators Pat Woods and Pete Campos speak with residents about their concerns after a legislative meeting Wednesday at the Tucumcari Convention Center.

Local agencies and residents had a chance to voice their concerns for the upcoming legislative session to Sen. Pat Woods, Sen. Pete Campos and Rep. Dennis Roch at the Tucumcari Convention Center.

"There are a lot of important issues which have been brought up, water being on of the most important." said Woods.

Woods said he agrees with the establishment of a minimum pool level for the Ute Pipe Line Project at Ute Lake Reservoir.

We can see from examples around us, Conchas Lake and Lake Meredith, the only way to ensure our continued economic development is being good stewards of our water, said Larry Wallin, manager of the Village of Logan.

Wallin said Logan has completed a $16 million infrastructure upgrade with their sewer and water systems. He said they depend on the lake residents, tourist and seasonal residents to repay that investment.

"We need a minimum pool level to be established in order to protect the livelihood of our community," Wallin said.

Wallin said another concern for Logan was the U.S. 54 alignment proposal and bridge located on U.S. 54. He said the four-lane alignment of U.S. 54 needs to run through Logan and funding for a new bridge is necessary.

Another entity expressing their concern about water was the Arch Hurley Conservancy District.

There is a need to secure funding to help with the purchase of equipment to install underground pipelines to distribute water to its members, said Arch Hurley spokesman Franklin McCasland.

McCasland said due to droughts and low lake levels at Conchas Lake, the district has not allocated water to its members in several years. He said that does not stop the district from making improvements to the infrastructure in the hopes of future water allocation.

"Currently the district uses open earth ditches to deliver water," McCasland said.

McCasland said a pipeline system would help to eliminate the loss of water from evaporation and seepage.

The legislators next listened to concerns for capital outlay projects for the surrounding area.

The agencies, communities and residents all need to come together in order to agree on the best projects and ideas, which will benefit all areas, Campos said.

"We appreciate the three of you taking time to come here and listen to us," said Richard Primrose, Quay County manger.

Primrose said there has been a reduction of funding to aid the county in offsetting the cost of the operations at the Quay County Detention Center. He said in the past the state paid $5 million to the detention center for the inmates it holds, and over the past few years that amount has gone down to $3 million.

"The county has had to shift funding in order to make up for loss," Primrose said.

Primrose said there would be a need to seek assistance in the remodeling of Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital. He said currently Presbyterian Health Services rents the building from the county, though it's facilities are in need of repair and upgrading.

Trigg Hospital Administrator Lance Labine acknowledged the hospital is in need of remodeling, but said another area the institution needed legislative help in is securing funding for the Sole Community Provider Fund.

Labine said like other small hospital across the state, the fund is Trigg's lifeline. He said the money from the fund helps the hospital to offset the cost of operations and uncompensated care they provide.

Primrose said the county has also picked up the slack left by the state's reduction in funding to the extension service. He said the county would be looking to Santa Fe for funding for a judicial complex.

"We are running out of space at the courthouse," Primrose said. "Changing regulations and requirements state we must provide adequate room for our district court judge and district attorneys office."

In regards to the district attorneys office, courts and our schools, City Commissioner Daniel Lopez said, it seems looking at security happens only when there are tragedies.

Lopez said the security at our governmental agencies and schools is lacking and makes them soft targets.

"I don't want it to take a tragedy here in Tucumcari or in Quay County to have something done about this issue," Lopez said.

The schools are going forward with upgrades to its facility to ensure the children's safety, said Aaron McKinney, superintendent of Tucumcari Schools.

McKinney said any funding the legislators can help the schools with would be greatly appreciated.

"We don't want a tragedy to occur in our schools," McKinney said. "We need to move forward with preparations. In this day and age we can no longer think 'if' something happens, we need to think 'when' something happens we need to be prepared."

When it comes to capital outlay, be it for governments or schools, Santa Fe needs to address them not by political affiliation but instead by need, said Roch.

Roch said he has been an advocate and will continue to represent the best interests of the communities in his district when it comes to capital outlay projects and money for school systems.

Economic development in Quay County was also discussed including Don Chalmer's racetrack and casino bid and renewable energy fields.

Woods said Quay County has a high potential for the development of solar, wind and geothermal renewable energy industries. He said securing legislation, which promotes and benefits the development of these industries, is vital.

Roch said since the first application process Tucumcari in his mind is the right place for the racetrack and casino. He said the continued pursuit by the entities in Quay County including the development of the Route 66 Museum show how committed the residents are to the continued development of economic growth in the area.

Speak Your Mind