Serving the High Plains

Eight city buildings need new roofs after hail

Tucumcari city manager Paula Chacon told city commissioners Thursday at least eight of its buildings will need a full roof replacements after a hailstorm on May 25 ravaged the region.

Those are the Tucumcari Convention Center, Tucumcari/Quay County Chamber of Commerce, Tucumcari Municipal Golf Course pro shop, Tucumcari Senior Center, Tucumcari Community Development office, Del Norte Community Center, Tucumcari Recreation Center and the trailer office at the landfill.

Chacon said the cost to replace the convention center’s roof will be about $1.4 million. The chamber of commerce building roof cost will be another $41,000.

She said insurance adjusters completed their work last week, and she didn’t have a full estimate on repairing all city properties.

Chacon’s list, provided to the Quay County Sun, included 15 other city buildings that have roof leaks requiring repairs.

The city’s insurance policy contains a 1% deductible for hail and wind damage, she said.

Chacon said the city’s insurer has sent a $500,000 check so it can do immediate mitigation work on those buildings “to keep them from getting worse.”

Commissioner Mike Cherry expressed concern about the convention center with the annual Rattler Reunion scheduled for early August.

Chacon said the city would place plywood or some other stopgap over the center’s broken skylights. She surmised those were where the majority of water infiltration came.

The city and county are seeking a state of federal disaster declaration to help cover some of those storm-damage costs.

Action items

— The commission held its first reading for three ordinance changes that would alter the annual percentage increases for water, sewer and garbage-collection rates.

Current annual rate increases are 4% for water and 2% each for sewer and trash. The new ordinances would lower the increase for water to 3% and increase the sewer and trash to 3% with each new fiscal year. These changes would take effect during October billings.

Chacon said slightly higher revenue for sewer and trash would help both departments accumulate more cash reserves in the long term. She said the trash department used up almost all its reserves to build a new cell at the landfill.

City finance director Rachelle Arias said during a work session that water revenue in the past fiscal year was $1.72 million — higher than the anticipated $1.5 million. She said the water department typically has access to more state and federal grants than the sewer and trash departments.

— The commission approved funding the Tucumcari/Quay County Chamber of Commerce a total of $27,000 for this fiscal year, though the chamber recently lost its director. (See other story in this edition.)

— The commission approved participation in the New Mexico Department of Transportation Co-op program to resurface several blocks of Third Street from Main Street to the Quay County Courthouse.

The state’s share will be $98,025, with the city’s share of $24,506. Project manager Ralph Lopez said the city will apply for a match waiver.

Lopez said state funds were “shorter than expected” to also repair a few blocks of Fourth Street south of Main.

— The commission approved two contracts between the city and Area Agency on Aging for food and services provided by the Tucumcari Senior Center.

The food contract was $19,935, and the services contract was $274,054.37. Services the center provides include serving and delivering meals and transportation for the elderly.

— The commission approved the $104,000 purchase of three mowers for Tucumcari Municipal Golf Course. The course will split the cost by extending an existing loan for four to five years. The other half will be covered by executive funds from motel taxes.

— The commission approved a four-year engineering agreement with Bohannan Huston for Tucumcari Municipal Airport. Lopez said fees would be on an as-needed basis. Lopez said the city attorney reviewed the contract and recommended changes that the engineering firm accepted.

— The commission tabled action on implementing a new credit-card policy after Cherry requested more options.

The state is requiring all municipalities to have a policy in place by fall.

Cherry expressed exasperation during a work session over credit-card fees of 10% from Tyler Technologies and another 2.5% from a third-party vendor that are imposed on payments. The city pays about $215,000 in credit-card fees each year.

“We should pass that on to the consumer,” Cherry said. “We should not be eating that.”

— Commissioners declined to take action on authorizing Souder, Miller & Associates to take soil samples from five former dry-cleaning sites to check for possible contamination. The work would be done on behalf of the state’s Environment Department.

An associate for Souder spoke to the commission by videoconference. Citing the ongoing expense of monitoring wells at the landfill, Cherry said he was concerned how much liability the city might incur if a property owner doesn’t take responsibility for contamination.

“I see a whole lot of negative for the city on this,” he said.

— Commissioners heard a report from Tucumcari Police patrolman Elijah Huber about the animal-control department’s challenges and activities. (See other story in this edition.)

— The commission waived $2,500 in fees for the use of the convention center by the Diamondback Booster Club for its annual athletic banquet. The club’s president, Jessica Goen, said the waiver would help the club’s finances, noting it spends more than $12,000 each year on meals for teams’ road games.

— In its consent agenda, the commission approved the appointment of Jackie Duplantis as a library board member. It also approved street closures around Damon Kvols Park for the library’s summer reading finale from 9 a.m. to noon on July 28.

Manager’s report

Items from Chacon’s regular report:

— The Tucumcari Municipal Pool did not open in mid-July as hoped because the contractor hired to fix the pump was unable to obtain parts in time.

Chacon said she was optimistic the pool would reopen for the first time since 2019 before classes resume at Tucumcari Public Schools in August. She said she has interviewed candidates for lifeguards and the pool manager, and they are being tested for certification.

— Chacon said the city’s generator was assessed after a 19-hour power outage in May. She said the city was looking to upgrade its generator for the police department and 911 system. She also was investigating the possible of adding a generator at the senior center.

— She said the recent Gamble Addition streets project had money left over, and the city will add a block for repairs.

— Chacon said the lone bid for the Aber Addition streets project went over budget. Changes will be made, and project will be rebid.

— Chacon said mosquito spraying likely would begin this week. Spraying had been delayed because chemicals were on back order.

— She said the city is about to open bids for Phase 1 of the wastewater-reuse project. Chacon later said she dropped the project’s cost by about $2 million.

— Chacon said the city’s emergency sirens were inspected, and she was checking to see whether they could be activated by city officials via cellphone.

— She said ADT recently completed security and alarm upgrades.

— The next Princess Theatre meeting is set for 1:30 p.m. Aug. 3.


— During public comments, Haley Place and Moya bickered for several seconds after Place mentioned that a resident with a criminal background was renting one of Moya’s houses.

“That’s my business,” Moya said. “Mind your own.”

Moya later apologized for his outburst after Place left the building, saying “I got upset.”

Place also said John Nichols, injured during a pitbull attack last month, expressed his disappointment with the city.

“Tucumcari citizens do not feel like they’re being heard and protected,” Place said.

— During commissioner comments, Paul Villanueva expressed concern about photographs of police officers and their families being posted on social media and whether they might be targeted.

Chief Patti Lopez said posting photos on the Behind the Badge page on Facebook is voluntary by her officers and is commonplace across the country.

“As long as the city doesn’t have liability, I don’t have a problem with it,” Cherry responded.

— Villanueva mentioned the need to clean up derelict properties such as the KFC building on South First Street and abandoned motels and Tucumcari Truck Terminal along Route 66.

Moya said a city fund needs to be created to address such properties, including imposing liens.

Code enforcement officer Maria Carmen Gonzales said her division has issued 15 criminal summons in three months. She said the most problematic property owners are ones who live out of town. She added she was looking for state and federal funding to address such properties.

Moya objected to one of his properties at 424 E. Route 66 Blvd. being cited, saying the weeds “are not that bad,” and he was allowing to small tree to grow on the tract. Carmen Gonzales acknowledged “a mistake” might have been made with the citation.

— Moya asked that fees to hook up water meters to the redeveloped ballfields owned by Tucumcari Public Schools be waived. Cherry said he was amenable to discussing water deposits at a future work session.

— Moya asked Chacon to have potholes filled on Rock Island Street between Main and the railroad tracks.

— Cherry said he wanted an executive session to discuss personnel matters and litigation on the agenda of each meeting. If no such session was needed, it could be deleted.

Rendered 05/09/2024 03:27