Prairie dogs being targeted

CNJ STAFF

The Clovis City Commission on Thursday will consider introducing an ordinance that will name prairie dogs a public nuisance, and require property owners to eradicate their property of them.

The ordinance, which would require final approval in a later meeting, would put the animals into the public nuisance definition that also includes graffiti, dangerous buildings, standing water where insects can multiply, garbage accumulations and abandoned vehicles.

“Allowing or maintaining conditions that permit deceased carrying insects, rodents, vermin or vectors to live and breed constitutes a health and safety hazard,” the ordinance reads. “Rats and prairie dogs are carriers of plague and other potential health hazards that threaten the health, safety and general welfare of the public when allowed to exist in populated areas or other locations where humans are likely to come in contact with disease carrying animals. There is also evidence that prairie dog burrows are homes for rattlesnakes and black widow spiders. In order to protect humans and domesticated pets from potential health risks, all property owners should be required to maintain their property so as to control, and to the extent possible, eradicate disease carrying or poisonous animals.”

During its July 18 meeting, the commission denied a request by Citizens for Prairie Dogs to allow for the transfer of prairie dogs from O.G. Potter Park and the Goodwin Lake Walking Trails to a parcel of land in Chaves County owned by the Bureau of Land Management.

Commissioners felt approving the move would be less than neighborly to Chaves County citizens and elected officials that said they didn’t want the animals. Additionally, Commissioner Fidel Madrid noted that either moving or killing all prairie dogs on city property would have little impact because prairie dogs usually inhabit neighboring private property.

Other items on the agenda include:

  • An approval of contract framework with the Underwood Law Firm of Amarillo to investigate and analyze the soured economic development deal between the city and the failed Beauty Health and Science Innovations cosmetic plant.

According to the scope of work set forth, Underwood will “interview all individuals and examine all documents, written and electronic as deemed necessary to determine how the decision to distribute city of Clovis funds to BHSI came into existence.”

Additionally, “the report shall also include the persons and organizations involved in the process, information about credit worthiness of BHSI and its principal(s), information that became available subsequent to the approval by the Clovis City Commission, findings regarding the due diligence or lack thereof by any individual(s), organizations or committees, and recommendations for the Clovis City Commission to consider pertaining to ordinances, policies and procedures, contracts and common practices that will work to (ensure) that a similar event does not occur in the future.”

The cost is set at $25,000, with city commission approval for any further expense. Mayor David Lansford has suggested that if the action leads to any change in economic development policy that the investigation shall be paid for through economic development tax advisory board monies.

Lansford and Commissioner Sandra Taylor-Sawyer would act as points of contact for the law firm to help schedule interviews and obtain documents. They were the only two not involved with the city commission during the 2011 vote to approve the deal with BHSI, which resulted in $1.8 million in economic development dollars spent.

  • On the agenda is an amended agreement with BHSI for a new repayment schedule of $900,000 owed to the city. The company missed a July 25 payment as part of an arrangement that would release BHSI of all debts to the city if it paid $1 million, and has submitted an amendment.

The company has so far paid the city $110,000, and a new agreement would add $10,000 to help the city with legal fees and require full payment by Sept. 8.

  • A presentation is scheduled from the Concerned Citizens of Curry County on water supply issues in eastern New Mexico.
  • Approval of quarterly lodgers tax disbursements. The board met July 16 and made recommendations for $34,000 in disbursements.
  • A report on the Colonial Park Golf Course from Charlie Maciel of Real Golf LLC.
  • An executive session is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. to discuss threatened litigation

What: Clovis City Commission meeting
When: 5:15 p.m. today
Where: North Annex of Clovis-Carver Public Library

The agenda is available at
cityofclovis.org/ under the dropdown menu city government