By Steve Hansen
QCS managing editor
With the first cell of Tucumcari’s landfill already full and the city hauling trash to Clovis, the Tucumcari City Commission on Thursday approved contracts that authorize construction to begin on a new cell.
The approval came on a 4-1 vote of the Commission with Commissioner Dora Salinas-McTigue voting against. She said she did it because contracts did not require a local subcontractor or local hiring.
The contract for nearly $486,000 went to MAXTEK Contractors of Albuquerque.
The work is expected to start within two weeks and be finished by Nov. 1, Strand said. Meanwhile, the city is paying $230 per truckload to haul trash to Clovis, Alex Arias, streets and sanitation manager told the gathering.
City Manager Doug Powers explained the work required special skills that no one in Tucumcari possessed.
Following the meeting, in which the Commission voted 3-2 to fire Powers,
Commissioner Robert Lumpkin the first cell had filled up faster than anticipated, due partially to a malfunctioning trash compactor, which is doing an inadequate job of decreasing trash volume at the landfill.
A new trash compactor is the first priority item on the city’s Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan.
Commissioners also took the following action:
• Accepted an emergency grant agreement with the New Mexico Aging and Long-term Services Department for $25,000 grant to make roof repairs at the Tucumcari Senior Citizens Center. Although the roof is in need of total replacement, which would cost $100,000 and is included in Tucumcari’s Infrastructure and Capital Improvement plan, the emergency funds are needed to make roof repairs in the senior center’s kitchen to allow daily operation of the senior center, according to the grant request made by Jessica Elebario, senior citizen program director. The emergency repair has been contracted to Roof Care of Clovis.
• Approved a grant agreement that will provide $382,729 to apply seal coating and fill cracks in the main runway at the Tucumcari Airport. A total of $364,504 of the funds, 95 percent, will come from the New Mexico Dept. of Transportation’s Aviation Division, with local funds making up the remaining $18,225.
• Approved an engineering study, the first step in constructing a five-mile-long water transmission line from the Metro Well Field east of Tucumcari into the city. The engineering contract was awarded to Forsgren Associates for $35,560, with $2,845 added in gross receipts tax. Engineering work will begin within 60 days after the New Mexico Environment Department approves the bid.
Water improvements are being funded by a drinking water grant from the New Mexico Finance Authority, said Vicki Strand, community development manager. The commission approved contracts for a 400,000-gallon water tank and new water metering systems in August, totaling $1.43 million.
The pipeline would carry water from the storage tank, located about five miles east of the city, into town.
• Approved a ban on the planting of new trees and bushes at gravesites in the Community Cemetery. The ban came after heavy rains caused pileups of dead trees and bushes in the cemetery. Lumpkin said trees and bushes have been dying due to dry conditions, which resulted in the plant debris piles.
• Agreed to allocate $12,000 to finance a possible new study to determine how much water can be stored at Ute Lake Reservoir. The assessment, Lumpkin said, is based on $2 per acre-foot allocated through the Ute Reservoir Water Commission.
Tucumcari’s allocation is 6,000 acre-feet.
Lumpkin said the study could be valuable, but may not actually be done. The apparent need for the new study was discussed in a water commission meeting in mid-September. The study could not be voted on because it was not an action item, but its cost was estimated at about $50,000.
The most recent yield study of the reservoir was conducted in 1994.
The city’s authorization was matched by Quay County’s $2,000 allocation for the proposed study, approved Sept. 23.