Clovis City Commission candidates spoke at the Q101.5 forum Tuesday night about quality of life, water and roads, and exactly how to pay for all of those things.
The forum included both candidates from the District 4 race — incumbent Chris Bryant and challenger R.L. “Rube” Render — and one candidate each from the remaining three districts.
Those appearing included Bobby Sandoval, running unopposed in District 3; John Jones, running against Sandra Taylor-Sawyer in the open District 2 race; and Jan Elliott, running against incumbent Randy Crowder in District 1.
Questions asked at the forum included:
• The No. 1 priority of each candidate: “Roads, roads, roads,” Elliott said. Sandoval agreed, saying there wasn’t enough money in Santa Fe to fix Clovis’ roads.
Jones said roads were his top priority, but he would also like to add a 311 phone information system for people that needed government help in a non-emergency setting.
Bryant said roads were the top priority, along with completing an effluent reuse pipeline to lower overall water demand. Render said after roads, he’d like to be able to add fixed route service to the Clovis Area Transit Service.
• If roads are the top priority, why is the city redeveloping Hotel Clovis and buying a new municipal golf course? “Excellent question,” Render said. “I do not have an answer for that question.”
Bryant said Hotel Clovis was being redeveloped by a private investor using tax credits, and the golf course was purchased using a renewed parks and recreations bond tax allotment.
Sandoval added that the city had to do many different things at once, and that the city’s tax code is structured so certain tax increments can only be spent in certain areas.
Elliott and Jones noted they were not commissioners at the time, and Elliott said she would explore those things if elected.
• Views on asking for grants and subsidies to fix roads: Candidates did not have a problem with asking for federal grants or subsidies.
“The answer’s always no,” Elliott said, “until you ask.”
Sandoval said the city put together a 10-year plan, but rising oil prices cut the funding down to about two years of useful life.
Jones said the city should always ask, but find ways to be self-sufficient. Bryant said it’s an option, since he doesn’t favor tax increases to fix the roads.
“I have absolutely no qualms about asking for grants,” Render said. “It’s our money; it’s our tax dollars.”
• Biggest change they would bring to the commission: Elliott said if elected, she would have town hall meetings with her district constituents for major decisions.
Jones, meanwhile, said he was open to hearing from any citizen, because he believed, “being a city commissioner is not just about your district.”
Sandoval said the only thing that would change would be the problems he faced, while Bryant said he was proud of accomplishments during his term.
Render said he would be more analytical regarding what are needs and what are wants.
• What quality of life project they would suggest: Sandoval said it was important to have activities for teenagers or younger airmen at Cannon Air Force Base, while Bryant said the city has numerous items either in place or about to be in place at Hillcrest Park.
Elliott said in her time around the health care field, she sees obesity as a problem and would like more educational programs about obesity, diabetes and asthma.
Render said the term is subjective.
“If you don’t golf, a new golf course isn’t an improvement in the quality of your life,” Render said. “If you’re cold and hungry, food and a jacket improves your quality of life.”
Jones said there should always be activities for children, but, “you just have to be happy with what you have sometimes and not want what that other city has.”