City joins EPCOG, asks its support in opposing prairie chicken listing

The Tucumcari City Commission on Thursday joined the Eastern New Mexico Council of Governments and immediately asked EPCOG to join the city and Quay County in opposing the listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken as a threatened species.

In two separate measures, the commission voted to pay the $1,878 dues to join EPCOG, then passed a resolution asking EPCOG to join in a protest of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken, a grouse species, as threatened.

The FWS named the bird to the threatened list on March 27.

The city’s resolution says the listing will adversely affect agriculture, the utility industry and other industries, costing jobs and hampering economic development. In addition, the resolution says, industrial organizations have already taken action to protect the species.

In other action, the commission:

· Approved payment of $43,000 for engineering on further improvements in the Daubs Addition on the city’s east side.

· Approved an increase in fees charged for tests at the city’s water quality laboratory, which performs tests for other communities, as well as Tucumcari.

· Approved a three-year contract with Griego Professional Services to conduct city audits. Under the contract, the city will pay Griego $42,800 in each of the next three years to conduct audits.

· Approved the appointment of Commissioner Amy Gutierrez, second district, to be the commission’s representative for EPCOG.

In his report to the commission, City Manager Doug Powers said:

· Work has begun to prepare the municipal swimming pool for its summer season.

· City crews are surveying property east of the existing Tucumcari Memorial Park Cemetery for expansion of the cemetery.

· The idea of asking for approval of a one-fourth cent per $1,000 of gross receipts to help fund emergency radio dispatch service for the county has been well received.

· The city’s conversion of its 1,500 water meters to automated radio reading is nearly complete and seems to be going well.

· Rail enthusiast Frank Turner and Bill Curry, a Tucumcari artist, are donating a 20-foot-tall mechanical rail crossing arm structure to the Rail Depot. The dedication was expected to occur on Tuesday.

In public comments, Rex Maddaford, manager of the Tucumcari Municipal Golf Course, thanked Comcast employees and about 50 volunteers who helped in clean-up, paint-up activities at the golf course, with contributions from Versatile Construction and the Elks Club.

Patsy Gresham, executive director of the Tucumcari Chamber of Commerce, noted attendance at the Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet on May 2, and the visit from members of the Tin Lizzies vintage auto club on the week before.

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