Special districts allowed in EPCOG under bylaw changes

The Eastern Plains Council of Governments amended bylaws Wednesday and joined others in opposing the listing of the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened or endangered species.

The most significant change to bylaws is the removal of at-large organizations and the acceptance of special districts as members to EPCOG, said Sandy Chancey, executive director.

Chancey said special districts include organizations such as irrigation districts and soil conservation districts.

"We need to offer these organizations the best type of services," said Vincente Cordova, Guadalupe County representative.

Cordova said EPCOG would be able to provide services such as assistance with infrastructure capital improvement plans, capital outlay requests and grant writing. He said there would have to be an additional charge if the EPCOG had to administer any grants as well.

The EPCOG board agreed to the addition of special district members, setting their annual membership fee at $250.

The board's resolution against listing the prairie chicken will be presented to the state Legislature. There is the potential for a significant impact on lands and landowners receiving revenue from oil and gas and the development of renewable energy projects in Roosevelt and Curry counties if the bird is listed, said Tim Ashley, Curry County representative.

EPCOG's Economic and Government Affairs Director Raymond Mondragon said many counties have already passed similar resolutions, though EPCOG's resolution will encompass them all.

Mondragon said legislators may pay more attention with the individual county resolutions added to the one passed by EPCOG. He said he plans to present them all to lawmakers in Santa Fe.

Mondragon said Farmers Electric has donated $3,500 and Plateau Communications has also pledged $2,500 to efforts to fight the listing.

The board held an executive session to discuss the disposal or acquisition of real property.

The board returned to regular session and approved Chancey to proceed with attempting to sell the north section of the EPCOG building at 420 Main St., Clovis.

Chancey said the EPCOG offices are currently not using the space and it can be easily separated. She said revenue from the sale of the office space would be beneficial.

Other items before the board included:

  • Discussion of the Eastern New Mexico Job Fair on Feb. 26 at the Clovis Civic Center.
  • Discussion on the 2012 audit, which is ready to be submitted to Department of Finance Authority.
  • The 2013 Capital Outlay submission to the Legislature.
  • Discussion of Department of Transportation funding.
  • A property management report.
  • The annual meeting was set for 10 a.m. June 12 in Santa Rosa.

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