By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor
The Tucumcari City Commission decided unanimously not to appoint an observer for the Jan. 2 recall election for city commissioners Dora Salinas-McTigue and Jimmy Sandoval in Districts 1 and 2, respectively.
Both commissioners agreed their right to appoint challengers and watchers to monitor the election would be sufficient reassurance the vote will be conducted and counted fairly.
Commissioner Robert Lumpkin offered a motion to bypass the observer based on lack of necessity and insufficient time before the Jan. 2 vote and Salinas-McTigue seconded.
In other action Thursday, the commission:
• Authorized spending an additional $7,900 on engineering services to meet new requirements from the New Mexico Water Trust Board. This will enable the city to qualify for grant funding of a water transmission pipeline from a new water tank into the city. The 5 1/2-mile pipeline’s cost is estimated at $2 million.
• Authorized spending an additional $6,500 on work by the CDM Smith engineering firm to challenge an application for a well north of Tucumcari by Lopez Farms. The city said the Lopez Farms well would interfere with existing city wells in that area. The matter will be heard by the Office of the State Engineer early next year, Doug Powers, city manager, said.
• In comments by commissioners, Sandoval called for commission attention to renovating the 27-acre outdoor classroom next to Tucumcari Elementary School. Renovating the property, he said, would create jobs and enhance educational opportunities for public school students.
Sandoval also called for more attention to the Tucumcari Public Library, which, he said, is in poor condition and serves a need for citizens and school students alike.
• In comments from citizens, resident Gary Montaño questioned the commission’s recent rule to limit citizen comments to three minutes, saying that former Mayor Antonio Apodaca had told him the commission had never imposed such a rule during Apodaca’s 16 years on the commission.
• Betty Cooper- Coslett, president of the city’s cemetery advisory board, expressed gratitude to city workers and Powers for removal of dead trees, which, she said, has resulted in making the tombstones visible again.
• Jeanne O’Dean, another resident, talked about progress on a state initiative designed to bring improved broadband Internet access to remote parts of northeastern New Mexico. She also talked about using the former Zia Elementary School to house a telemedicine center that would allow physicians to consult with patients via Internet video.