Meetings watch: Tucumcari City Commission

The Tucumcari City Commission met Thursday evening at Tucumcari City Hall.
Commissioners Jimmy Sandoval; Ernest Dominguez Jr.; Amiel Curnutt, mayor; Dora Salinas-McTigue; and Robert Lumpkin attended.
Commissioners commented favorably on the Rockabilly on the Route event June 7-9.
City Manager Doug Powers noted that city grant writers had succeeded in obtaining grants for $2.2 million, the entire amount they had sought in funds from the New Mexico Water Trust to help fund the construction of a pipeline from  a new tank at Five-Mile Park east of Tucumcari into the city.
Mark Lake, director of the city’s Main Street program, mentioned a video program available on YouTube that chronicles a visit from students at Rock Valley Community College in Rockford, Ill., to Tucumcari, and the two painting projects that the students assisted with over Spring Break.  The students were led by David Buchen, Tucumcari’s first Main Street program director, who is now a grant writer at the Rockford college.
Jack Taylor, representing Spirit 54, a group that advocates improvements on U.S. Route 54 from Wichita, Kan., to El Paso, Texas, gave a progress report on efforts to make as much of the highway as possible into four-lane road.
The group is currently advocating for widening Route 54 from Logan to Tucumcari, including reconstruction of the bridge over the Canadian River just south of Logan.
Sherry Bruhn, manager of a Circle K store on First Street near Interstate 40, told the commission that Billy Chavez, who was captured north of Tucumcari after allegedly shooting a former son-in-law in the shoulder in Albuquerque, was in the Circle K, but not identified by Tucumcari Police, after she called to report that a man matching Chavez’s description had entered the store.
She said she had asked Chavez to leave the store but police told him he could re-enter, apparently failing to recognize Chavez as the man police were seeking in the Tucumcari area.
Chavez eventually left the store after making a cardboard sign that he  apparently wanted to use in order to hitchhike to Amarillo, Bruhn said.
Bruhn said she felt she was in danger, since Chavez was reported to be armed, and asked that police look into improving their identification procedures. Commissioners and Police Chief Jason Braziel said they would follow up on Bruhn’s request.
The commission also:
• Appointed three members to the city’s Lodgers Tax Board.  They are Megan Hatterman, Richard Randals and Jack Hendrickson. The new lodger’s tax board members were appointed on a 4-1 vote.  Commissioner Salinas-McTigue voted against the appointments.
• Awarded, then reduced the scope of two street contracts, one on Whitmore Avenue, the other in the Daub’s addition area.
• Approved a contract with Pacheco Construction Co. to install concrete in an area in front of the Railroad Depot in downtown Tucumcari.
• Rejected bids for a water storage tank, a radio-read water meter system and installation of radio meters for the water system. All bids were above the amounts budgeted for these projects, Powers said.
• Approved renewal of a contract for legal services with Kyle Harwood, a Santa Fe- attorney, who helps the city with water issues.  The contract is for $50,000 at a rate of $225 per hour.
• Tabled a proposed contract with 3M Cogent Fingerprint Collection, that would have allowed background check fingerprinting for  potential city employees to be performed and sent electronically. Commissioner Salinas-McTigue said she wanted better assurance that the firm offering the service would maintain proper confidentiality of information.
• Approved the sale of a small house at 1424 S. Sixth Street to Ignacio Villegas of Tucumcari.
• Agreed to extend the time for which employees can take vacation days for the Fiscal Year that ends June 30, to Dec. 31, 2013.  Powers said the extension will allow city workers to stay on the job during the busiest time of the year and vacation when business slows down.

— Compiled by QCS managing editor Steve Hansen

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