Airport runway to undergo improvements

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff

The Clovis Municipal Airport learned some welcome news, Airport Manager Steve Summers reported at Thursday’s Clovis City Commission meeting.

Summers said he was notified recently by the Federal Aviation Administration additional funding was available for runway improvements at the airport.

A mill overlay project will start Monday on the airport’s main runway, Summers said, with 20,000 cubic tons of asphalt for the 150-foot-by-6,200-foot runway. The project was previously approved at about $4.1 million.

Now, Summers said, the airport was offered an additional $670,736 in grants, intended for a new runway connection to better handle corporate jets.

The grants became available because other airports were not able to complete unrelated grant offers under FAA deadlines.

“We knew a lot of airports were not going to be in the position we were,” said Summers. He said most of the plans and drawings were ready in advance for the taxi connection.

The FAA covers 95 percent of the amount. The remaining $33,536 would be shared evenly between city and state funds. The commission approved the grant 8-0.

The taxi connection plan was put on hold because the FAA prioritized it behind new asphalt for the runway, Summers said.

The FAA had downgraded the runway’s status from fair to poor due to asphalt cracks — not a surprise, Summers said, for a runway more than 35 years old.

“It could be a safety issue, and that’s what (the FAA) viewed it as,” Summers said, particularly for smaller planes that could run into danger if landing gear hit a crack.

In other business at the meeting:

• The commission recognized former Clovis Mayor David Lansford for his five years as chairman of the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority.

The group, which exists for the creation and implementation of the Ute Water Project, has since accepted current mayor Gayla Brumfield as chair.

Lansford said he had confidence in Brumfield and thanked the commission for its support over the years.

“I went to every meeting with confidence,” Lansford said. “I knew the group was behind me … and I can’t tell you what it means for a complicated project like this.”

• The commission approved the appointments of Joe Urban and LaVonn Guthals to the library board.

• Mayor Pro-Tem Randy Crowder gave a report from a recent New Mexico Municipal League resolutions committee meeting. Crowder said of 68 resolutions, only one was defeated. The resolution would have imposed a tariff on utility bills to create a fund to help people wishing to use renewable energy methods. Crowder said the people most affected by the tariff — fixed-income seniors and low-wage earners —would likely not be in position to afford such energy measures. The resolution was defeated in an 18-15 vote.