City ponders changes to investment committee

By Jack King

The city of Clovis may get a new budgeting process if the City Commission acts on a motion by Commissioner Catherine Haynes.
At the Commission’s Thursday night meeting, Haynes moved that the city’s Investments Committee, which officially oversees the city’s investment strategy, be changed to an Investment and Budget Committee, with input on how the city’s budget is created.
Her motion came during a discussion of restructuring the Investment Committee. The committee is now composed of the mayor, the city manager, the city finance director and two commissioners.
City Manager Ray Mondragron has proposed switching the city manager’s role from that of a voting member to a non-voting member and adding one more city commissioner as a voting member. The assistant city manager and the assistant city finance director also would be added as non-voting members.
Mayor David Lansford proposed Thursday that Haynes be the new commissioner on the Investment Committee.
But Haynes said while sitting in on a meeting of the Investment Committee she found that its members also were discussing city road projects, employee raises and how to manage city money to pay for these things.
“I propose we acknowledge what we’re doing and call it an ‘Investment and Finance Committee’ or an ‘Investment and Budget Committee,’ ” she said.
“My concern is that, if you establish a budget committee, some commissioners are going to be way out in front of others on the budget,” Lansford said, adding that the city manager has been hired to manage the city’s budget.
Mayor Pro Tem Gordon Smith moved to table discussion on the committee pending further study by the city staff and by the commissioners. The motion was approved 6-0.
Elsewhere, the commission approved putting out a request for proposals for architect and design services for a city convention center, with the current convention center steering committee as the design committee on a 5-1 vote.
Commissioner Isidro Garcia voted against the action, noting that the city’s interest on its investments has been falling.
“When interest rates are low, it’s a good time to borrow money (for building),” Lansford told him.
“But you have to pay back what you borrow,” Garcia replied.
The commission tabled action on a request by Maurine Thomas to keep a chain link fence that is encroaching in city right of way at the corner of 400 Hickory St. Thomas said the fence is attached to her father’s house and has stuck into the right of way since 1972. Her father recently died and, on preparing to sell the house, the family reported the encroachment to the city.
Haynes, in whose district the house is located, said the fence blocks motorists’ vision at the corner.
“I continually ask, ‘Where is the Inspections Department?’ Do you mean the matter wouldn’t have come up until she brought it to your attention?” Commissioner Kevin Duncan asked Director of Inspections Marcus Brice.
Audience member Pamela Nance-Pittman asked why the city would make Thomas remove her fence when it was probably “grandfathered in.” Lansford moved to table the action until the city staff could research whether Thomas’ father had received a variance when building the fence.
The commission also heard presentations on building codes from several industry and regulatory agency representatives, including state Construction Industries Division Director Lisa Martinez and Randy Crowder, past president of the Clovis Home Builders Association.
Crowder urged the commission to speedily adopt the International Building Code for a most industries. Martinez told them the state is in the process of reviewing building codes and will make a decision by the first of next year. A political division that adopts its own codes prior to a recommendation by the state risks violating state law, she said.