City commission changes priority rankings

By Eric Butler: CNJ Correspondent

The Clovis City Commission rearranged its wish list for the state Legislature, with a proposed wellness center and road repairs for Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard getting bumped up.

Commissioners unanimously approved the revision at Thursday’s regular meeting.

Upgrades for the city’s wastewater treatment plant, the former No. 2 priority, were taken off the legislative request altogether.

Commissioner Fred Van Soelen explained that he and his colleagues felt that the improvements to the 20-year-old treatment plant might be accomplished through money the city could acquire through bonds. The upgrades would enable the aging plant to remain in operation for another 15 years.

“We decided to take it off our capital outlay request, so we could move other things up,” Van Soelen said.

The need for money to help construct a new overpass at Hull Street over the railroad tracks remains the city’s top priority.

Funds for a new wellness center at the site of the former Play Inc. building moved up to No. 2, while the widening of Martin Luther King from Llano Estacado to Riata Street was pushed up to third.

The only other stated priority for the legislative session, which begins in January, is the development of a new communication center for the city at Fourth and Mitchell streets.

City manager Joe Thomas said planning work on the Hull Street overpass — which was closed in August — continues without waiting for the state Legislature to convene.

“Although there’s not a lot of physical activity going on at the site yet, we are having regular meetings with Burlington Northern Santa Fe and our engineering firm on whether to replace the structure entirely or use portions of the existing structure — which is not recommended by our engineering firm,” Thomas said.

In other commission business:

• Approval was given to hold hearings regarding a transfer of one liquor license and the establishment of a new one.

Town & Country Food Stores hopes to move its liquor license for its location at 3600 W. 7th to a new convenience store to be called Stripes at 621 S. Prince. El Tapatio restaurant, at 2018 Mabry Drive, is hoping to be approved for a license to serve beer and wine.

• Clovis’ Ken De Los Santos last week was named as the emergency manager of the year by the New Mexico Emergency Management Association. De Los Santos and fellow city employee Connie Gee, also honored at the meeting in Las Cruces, were both recognized by the commission for their efforts.