After returning from executive session at their regular Thursday night meeting, Tucumcari city commissioners voted unanimously to send a non-binding letter of intent to purchase the Wells Fargo building on South First Street. Mayor Pro Tem Antonio Apodaca said the building would cost $1 million.
“There is an opportunity to look at property that is a super-good buy,” Commissioner Robert Lumpkin said. “There’s no monetary risk and there’s no contractual risk to submitting the letter.”
The bank building, if purchased, would be used for both city and Quay County government offices, City Manager Bobbye Rose said. She said having a common building for both government entities would help save the city and the county money.
“We’ve got copy machines that cost us about $75,000 a year. If we could consolidate some of those into one facility, you could almost make a payment off the copy machines itself. There’s a lot of things that we can jointly share. I think it’s a good idea,” Rose said.
She said tentative plans are to keep a section of the building reserved for bank operations.
Wells Fargo officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
City commissioners also approved a 30-day ban on aerial and ground-audible fireworks at Thursday’s regular meeting at City Hall.
“The northern approximate half of the county is under a condition of a severe drought. The southern half is under extreme drought. Further south areas in the state, they are experiencing a hundred-year drought that we only see once every hundred years,” Tucumcari firefighter Scott Jaynes said.
Jaynes said the district 1 fire department located in the northwest corner of the county averages around 50 calls per year, and that by the end of May they already received 36 fire calls.
“There’s been at least two more this last week,” Jaynes said.
The ban does not apply to smaller firecrackers, sprinklers or fountains that children typically play with to celebrate the July 4 holiday.
Commissioner Amiel Curnutt expressed concern over allowing any fireworks in the city.
“If you allow one and try to curtail the other ... I don’t know how you’re going to control that situation,” Curnutt said. “I nearly think it would be better to get rid of all of them.”
Commissioners could still enact a ban on all fireworks if they saw fit.
“What this is banning is anything that would get out of the person’s possession,” Mayor Jim Witcher said. “People should have common sense to have a water hose there in case they need it.”
City Clerk Christine Daugherty said she has been working with County Clerk Ellen White, Tucumcari Schools Administrative Assistant Bernadette Moya and Mesalands Community College Administrative Assistant Connie Chavez to come up with a plan of action for possible redistricting of city commission, county commission and college board of trustees districts. She said the group met with Southwest Political Services this week to come up with a comprehensive plan.
“What we need to do to begin with is have them research the census data to see if redistricting is something we need to think about doing. It is likely that we will have to redistrict. The good news is that we can have considerable cost savings by doing this as a joint effort,” Daugherty said.
She said the city’s last redistricting process in 2001 cost $13,000, and that this redistricting should cost less than $3,000.
Thanks to new measures passed by state legislators, voting precincts in the county may also be consolidated. Daugherty said a new electronic voting system will cut down on costs by saving paper and reducing the number of poll workers required to conduct a local election.
“We don’t have to print and throw away ballots we don’t use. The voter walks in, we find out what district they’re from, we punch a button and the ballot prints out,” Daugherty said.
Daugherty said potential challenges include deciding which voting locations would be most convenient for county voters and finding voting locations with adequate wireless Internet access.