Town hall has light turnout — one guy

By Michelle Seeber

Clovis’ city officials held their first town hall meeting Friday to explain their request for a quarter-percent increase in the gross-receipts tax. Aside from media and city officials, only one man showed up. He was from Friona and is unable to vote in the March 2 election.
Alvin Petty, 55, said he and his wife, Kathy, plan to move to Clovis eventually and he’s interested in the city’s infrastructure.
“I think it’s good to have a tax increase at this time with all the new development in Clovis,” Petty told City Manager Raymond Mondragon. “I believe you have to pay for service to get good service. I like a quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes. Holmes said, ‘Taxes are the price we pay for civilization.’”
Mondragon said he was surprised at the turnout at Yucca Junior High.
“If this is an indication of how the citizens feel about a tax increase, I see it as a positive,” he said.
Mondragon said city officials had made 26 presentations prior to beginning the series of town hall meetings, which run through this week.
“We did one at the (American Association of Retired Persons) on Thursday and really received positive comments from the senior citizens,” he said.
The proposed tax — 25 cents on every $100 spent — would be charged to retailers, who in turn would charge it to customers. City officials have said they expect the increase would generate at least $1.2 million annually.
Mondragon and Assistant City Manager Joe Thomas said the money would be used for maintenance, equipment replacement and other capital-improvement needs that accompany growth and development.
“The property owner doesn’t pay for this,” Mondragon said of the tax. “Customers from all over pay for it.”
Those customers would include Petty, who is minister of Calvary Baptist Church in Friona. He said he’s placed a trailer home in Ranchvale, west of Clovis, and he frequently travels to Clovis to buy items to fix the yard and add on to the small home.
“We come over here a lot,” he said. “This will be our home, so we’re taking an interest in it.”

Absentee voting
Absentee voting ends Friday. Voting is done from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the City Clerk’s office, 321 N. Connelly St.