Commissioners discuss revamping beautification group

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

City commissioners universally believe in Clovis pride, and keeping Clovis beautiful.

Getting from one to the other, though, brought some disagreement Thursday.

Commissioner Len Vohs is spearheading an effort to reorganize the Clovis Pride Committee as the Keep Clovis Beautiful Committee.

Commissioners were considering an ordinance calling for a committee of 11 voting members — Mayor Gayla Brumfield as chair, two city commissioners and two citizens for each of Clovis’ four city districts — to meet at least quarterly and be the sole coordinator for city beautification.

Mayor Pro-Tem Randy Crowder said he agreed with the need to reinvigorate the committee. But Crowder said he felt the language of the ordinance set troubling precedents.

Trouble spots Crowder cited included:

• A lack of input from Curry County, because many beautification targets are outside the city limits. Commissioner Juan Garza thought county input was relevant as well.

• A requirement that the mayor serve as chair, because it hamstrings future mayors and hands them duties not outlined in the city charter.

• A requirement for City Manager Joe Thomas to be present at all meetings, but not have voting privileges.

• The committee’s ability to create permanent programs, a situation which would hamper the commission’s oversight duties.

Brumfield said she believed the chairmanship fit in an elastic “all other duties” clause of the city charter,

“It’s not rocket science,” Brumfield said. “It’s making Clovis pretty.”

Vohs said most mayoral candidates in 2008 had city beautification as a top item on their platforms.

“Any mayor that would not chair,” Vohs said, “I don’t think we’d want them to be mayor of Clovis.”

The introduction of the ordinance was approved unanimously. Any amendments made would be handled when the ordinance is brought up for a vote at the April 16 meeting.

Meetings Watch:

This is a supplement on Thursday’s city commission meeting:

• The commission unanimously approved a beer and wine license for Fat Boys Barbeque and More restaurant.

The restaurant at 901 Llano Estacado Boulevard, required a pair of waivers because applicants must be more than 300 feet away from churches and schools.

Fat Boys is within 300 feet of a Montessori school and the North Side Church of Christ on Lilac Drive .

City Attorney David Richards said the school sent a letter expressing no objections to the license. Regarding the church, Richards said no representative could be found, and utility records indicated services have not been held for more than a year.

• Clovis High senior Aarti Attreya was honored for earning the title of governor at the Girls State conference last summer.

The American Legion Auxiliary-sponsored conference, held June 1-6 at Eastern New Mexico University, taught seniors-to-be about the functions of government and assigned students to fictional cities and counties.

Attreya, who didn’t hear about the conference until late in her junior year, said it was a “vibrant, lively and involving” experience.

• Three members of the Civic Center Policy Committee gained re-election. Kevin Duncan, Gail Martin and Susan Wooton received new terms in a four-person race. Dianna Thompson, who also submitted an application, was thanked and asked to apply for future openings on other city committees.