By Chelle Delaney
Quay County Sun
1. What are Racing Commission members looking for in Thursday’s presentation?
From any applicant, we are looking for the type of support locally. Ultimately, it's going to be what is in the best interest of New Mexico's horse racing. Our focus is racing. Everybody is going to have good plans. Everybody is going to have their (financial) numbers. It's what are they going to be doing for the racing industry. – Julian Luna, agency director of New Mexico Racing Commission.
2. When will the commissioners make their decision?
(The commission is) hoping that it will be within the next 30 to 60 days, said Julian Luna, agency director of New Mexico Racing Commission.
3. Is there a chance they could OK two sites or zero sites?
The gaming compact is real specific, there can be just one racing and one casino license. We're definitely going to approve someone. We need more racing days in New Mexico. – Julian Luna, agency director of New Mexico Racing Commission.
4. If Tucumcari receives permission to build a racino, how long will it take before opening day?
It would depend on the applicants. But usually it's about 18 months to two years. The sooner it is to the start of the racing season, (the better). – Julian Luna, agency director of New Mexico Racing Commission.
We would do what Hobbs did, put up a temporary casino and that would take about nine months. – Warren Frost, executive director, Quay County Gaming Authority.
5. Officials have said a Tucumcari racino would be a huge boost to the economy. But does the city have the infrastructure to grow quickly? Can we expect traffic jams?
The city has signed contracts for new lift stations on Route 66 and Date Street. The funds total more than $9 million, including the wastewater treatment plant. The utilities are robust enough to handle it.
Route 66 between Interstate 40 and Mountain Road can handle the traffic. We have talked to the state about safety concerns at I-40 and Mountain Road. And we have talked about stripping and lighting at the interchange where Love’s and the Flying J truck plazas are. – John Sutherland, Tucumcari City Manager.
6. What about crime? Are local law officers prepared for whatever might happen or will they need to add staff or build a bigger jail?
I’ve talked to the city manager and several commissioners. We’d have to add officers. But, there would also be more gross receipt taxes. – Chief Roger Hatcher, Tucumcari Police Department.
There should be more revenue for the county for more deputies and equipment. There’s more criminal activity if people don’t have jobs – that’s when the criminal activity is the highest. – Sheriff Joe Schallert, Quay County Sheriff’s Office.
7. What would a racino do to our property values? Will our taxes go up?
Property taxes are driven by the buyers and the sellers, not by the Quay County Tax Assessor's office. If the buyers are willing to pay more, then the taxes will go up. But the way the formula is written, if the assessed value goes up, the overall tax rate would go down. – Janie Murray, Quay County Tax Assessor's Office.
Property values will go up. – Richard Randals, New Mexico Property Group.
The real estate market is already starting to warm up based on conversations I’ve had with several people in real estate and banking. – John Sutherland, Tucumcari City Manager.
8. Many area residents are concerned about the gambling establishment’s impact on our community’s youth. Will there be age limits for entry to the casino or the race track?
According to age limits at other tracks and casinos in New Mexico: A person must be 21 years old and have valid identification to enter a casino. All ages are allowed into racetracks. Persons must be 18 and show a valid identification to participate in betting at a racetrack.
9. Gambling can be addictive. Are profits from the gaming and racing commissions used to treat gambling addictions or educate to prevent addiction?
Both the racing and gaming commission contribute annually to programs. – Julian Luna, agency director of New Mexico Racing Commission.
Racetracks and casino Web sites provide information about responsible gambling and also offer questions for gamers to determine if gambling has become a problem. There is also information on Web sites where persons can call for help or find a list of meeting places for such groups as Gambling Anonymous.
10. Where will new residents live? Do we have enough hotel rooms for all the visitors?
The city already has several subdivisions that are platted. There are plenty of lots. I can think of one subdivision that has 84 lots available. Builders would probably come in and buy lots. – Richard Randals, New Mexico Property Group.
The city’s Planning and Zoning Department needs additional staff. And if there were an increase in residential development, we’d need more staff. – John Sutherland, Tucumcari City Manager.
The city would have enough hotel rooms. There are about 800 rooms at this time, including the LaQuinta which is under construction. – Ron Wilmot, director of the Tucumcari Convention Center.
By Chelle Delaney
Click Here To See More Stories Like This