Serving the High Plains

City approves renewal of joint powers agreement

The city of Tucumcari will uphold its part of the joint powers agreement that provides emergency communications service to Quay County and parts of Harding County.

Under the agreement, city pays 45% of the cost, as does Quay County. Logan and San Jon pay the remaining 10%.

The Tucumcari City Commission on Thursday approved renewal of the joint powers agreement.

The commission also approved renewal of a permit that allows Plateau Communications to keep a tower on the city’s former landfill site to extend the range of broadband internet service.

City Manager Mark Martinez said the tower continues to prove useful, even after the need for broadband access for students to conduct remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even as schools have reopened, residents are finding the extended broadband range to be useful, Martinez said.

The commission delayed action on the city’s fiscal year 2022 budget, covering the period from July 1 to June 30, 2022, because of technology failures and demands placed on city finance employees due to understaffing, Martinez said.

As of Saturday, the city’s website at had been down for several days.

A special meeting was scheduled for July 27 to approve the budget in time for the July 30 deadline imposed by the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration.

In a work session before the regular meeting Thursday, the commission met with Alan Daugherty, representing the Tucumcari Historical Museum.

Daugherty noted city support for the museum has been reduced, and emphasized the city and the museum have a 50-year partnership.

Martinez, however, said the city is facing personnel reductions and cuts in many areas, because of the demands of rising minimum wage costs.

In a visit to the Quay County Commission on June 30, Daugherty said the city had cut the museum’s personnel funding to one-third of what it had been and that communication with city officials was poor. Current hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The county commission on July 16 approved $3,200 to support the museum.

In other matters:

• The commission heard Robert Vargas describe a situation where he said his family was threatened by a woman with a gun, but Tucumcari police ended up returning the gun to her. Mayor Ruth Ann Litchfield said she would like to see videotape that Vargas took of the situation.

• A resident of Tucumcari public housing said public housing areas on the city’s north side have been neglected. Weeds are growing around some units, and the units are not getting sprayed for bugs, she said. The city handed management of the units over to the Eastern New Mexico Housing Authority early this year.

• Scott Crotzer, executive director of the Tucumcari/Quay County Chamber of Commerce, made a request for $5,000 from the city for improvements at the chamber’s headquarters that would make the building a visitor center that includes public restrooms, a community board and a “digital library” of historic documents. Crotzer also asked for $3,650 for historic preservation remodeling for the chamber headquarters. The commission took no action.

• Mayor Pro Tem Todd Duplantis noted the city’s fire rating had been reduced, and that was causing insurance bills to rise. Martinez said the reduction resulted from an inspection by the state fire marshal’s office, and he is looking into why the rating city’s rating was downgraded.

• District 4 Commissioner Christopher Arias talked about traffic problems on Rock Island Street and asked for a traffic study there.

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