A representative of the Tucumcari Feedyard expressed frustration at the city’s slow pace to get a permit for gray water that could be used for livestock at Thursday night’s City Commission meeting.
Rancher Jack Smith said he had been working with the state’s Environment Department to get the necessary permits for the use of the water. But he learned recently that he was ahead of the city in its efforts to secure approval of the gray water, and had to wait until the city has processed its permits.
City Commissioner Jim Lafferty apologized for the city’s slow progress.
City Development Director Doug Powers said the city had to cover a lot of issues before selling the water, including how much the city would be charging for the water.
City Commissioner Jim Witcher said it was the city’s intent to sell the feedyard the water, but first the city had to establish a rate and standard operating procedures that would be used in subsequent sales.
In a related matter, the City Commission approved a water loan-grant from the state’s Water Trust Board for $1.4 million to enhance and improve the city’s wastewater treatment. The majority of the funds are a grant, and do not have to be repaid. About $350,000 is a loan which the city has to repay.
In other matters:
l The commission gave its OK for city staff to seek a grant to purchase recycling containers that could be used by residents.
The area’s recycling market has softened as it has in other areas of the country because the demand for recycled plastic bottles and other recyclables has fallen with the economic meltdown.
In fact, a local company TAL Trash Service is no longer collecting recycled goods, said Christina Fleming, a teacher and local resident. Fleming sponsored the Tucumcari High School science club’s recycling efforts which received a lot of local support.
l The commission furthered its efforts in combating underage drinking by creating a task force to review the proposed “Augies Law” and to study of laws covering juvenile intoxication.
“Augie’s Law” recognizes the tragic death of a 12-year-old Tucumcari boy, Augustine “Augie” Montiel, who drowned in 2006 in a local irrigation ditch. His blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit, according to family members.
The task force will investigate the possibility of making it unlawful for any person under the age of 21 years to procure, buy, purchase, consume, physically possess or obtain alcoholic beverages.
The task force will include members from: the Quay County Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition; Maternal, Child and Community Health Council; DWI Enforcement Group; Tucumcari Police Department; Quay County Sheriff’s Office; New Mexico State Police; Team Builders Counseling Services; and the City Commission.
Meanwhile, in Santa Fe, state lawmakers have been looking at House Bill 420 which addresses minors consumption of alcohol. The bill was introduced by District 26 Rep. Al Park this session.
“The bill would make any consumption of alcohol by minors a violation of state law,” said Victoria Chavez, a media relations spokewoman for the state Legislature.
Chavez said that the changes in state law will allow a sobriety field test to be conducted by officers to determine if a minor is under the influence. The sentencing would go before a district judge.
Currently, the bill is before the House Judiciary Committee, and must be voted on by the House before it goes to the Senate for review and approval.
Chavez said the bill could undergo several changes before it reaches the Senate.