Cannon group presses forward

By Karl Terry: Freedom Newspapers

PORTALES — A local committee formed to address growth issues associated with Cannon Air Force Base’s new mission hammered out bylaws and organization framework Wednesday.

Comprised of representatives of the cities of Clovis and Portales and Curry and Roosevelt counties, the Local Growth Management Committee also agreed to advertise for members to serve on the volunteer board.

Area officials anticipate a population growth when the Air Force Special Operations 16th Wing is installed next fall.

According to committee members, the proposed volunteer board called the Local Growth Management Organization would serve as the legs of the growth management effort while the growth committee takes the role of the decision-making body.

Portales Mayor Orlando Ortega likened the group to the city’s planning and zoning board that studies issues, talks to experts and makes a recommendation to the decision-making entity.

Ortega said he feels it is important to have a good relationship with the Office of Economic Adjustment, which assists communities affected by BRAC.

“Gen. (Hansen) Scott (director of the Office for Military Base Planning and Support in New Mexico) can be an asset to our board. I would rather have him working with us rather than on the other side,” Ortega said.

Ortega noted Scott’s connections all the way to the Pentagon.

Clovis Mayor David Lansford, who chairs the overseeing growth committee, said it was important to define the roles of the two organizations.

“I’m concerned that too much of what this organization (LGMO) does has to filter back to us,” Lansford said during discussion of the proposed organization’s scope.

“I’m not sure I want to be communicating with OEA on the same level as they are.”
Members’ packets contained a list outlining six skill sets Clovis City Attorney David
Richards had put together at the members’ request. Committee members expressed approval of the skill sets. They also agreed to advertise for volunteers with those specific skill sets from the community and to try to fill the positions in the next 30 days.

As they had previously agreed, the LGMO will be comprised of 11 members. Three will be individuals with general business, management and leadership skills. Two positions will be appointed by the governor, and the remaining six will represent the specific skill sets outlined.

Lansford pointed out that the group’s primary focus over the next year would be in the realm of planning grants that would either be matched from the committee’s budget or presented to the four governmental entities for approval. He said that brick-and-mortar grants would likely be matched by whatever government’s jurisdiction was most affected.