Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Thomas Garcia
Staff writer 

Manager hopefuls narrowed to three

Commission talks contract to promote city.


April 11, 2018

Three applicants for the Tucumcari city manager position were discussed in executive session by City Commissioners Thursday during a special meeting at City Hall.

No decision was made after commissioners returned to regular session.

The applicants are Britt Lusk of Hobbs, Robert Ratliff of Bucyrus, Ohio; and D. Sam Hughes of Tri Cities, Washington.

Commissioners also approved offering a contract to an Albuquerque-based marketing firm that would help promote events and attractions in Tucumcari and revamp the city’s website and Interstate 40 billboard campaigns.

“If hired, the firm would update the city’s website that has been in need of upgrading in quite some time,” said Interim City Manager, Mark Martinez.

The contract is $50,000 for one year, with three additional one-year renewal options. The funds to pay for the services would be taken out of the Lodger’s Tax executive funds.

Lodger’s taxes are collected from hotels and motels, which pass along the cost to customers. The funds the city receives are separated into executive funds and promotional funds. Executive funds can be used to help fund local events, hire marketing firms and cover insurance and repair costs for the Tucumcari Convention Center. Promotional funds are designated for advertisement of local events.

The Lodger’s Tax funds are separated into two parts.

“My concern is there being enough money to fund our local events,” said Ralph Moya, City Commissioner.

Moya said the executive fund already has ongoing expenses and $50,000 may stretch the budget too thin.

“We have to make sure our local events can survive,” Moya said.

Commissioner Robert Lumpkin was concerned the contract said the commission or the city manager could approve a project. He believe a project require the approval of both entities.

“We need to work together for the benefit of Tucumcari,” Lumpkin said. “The current contract would create a situation where the commission or the city manager could approve the services of the firm without the other’s consent.”

Commissioner Todd Duplantis was concerned about four years being too long to obligate the city, and the commission approved an amendment of the contract to include the annual renewal.

“I also share commissioner Moya’s concern on having money available for our local events,” Duplantis said. “However, we have to try something new to help promote our local attractions and events.”

Martinez said the firm would also aid in creating and maintaining a social media presence for the city. He said the promotion would be beneficial to highlight the city’s attractions including the Tucumcari Train Depot, Tucumcari Historical Museum and the Mesalands Community College’s Natural Resource Laboratory and Dinosaur Museum.

Lumpkin suggested another amendment, changing the notice of termination from 60 days to 30 days.

The amended contract was approved 4-1, with Moya voting in dissent.

“I want to help the promotion of Tucumcari and local events, I just don’t feel that this contract is economical beneficial,” Moya said. “There could be any number of unforeseen expenses come up that will require the use of the funds used up by this contract.”

Neither Martinez nor the commissioners would release the name of the marketing firm, stating it was contract sensitive. The Quay County Sun has filed a public records request for that information.


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