The Clovis City Commission met Thursday evening at the North Annex of the Clovis-Carver Public Library.
All commission members and Mayor David Lansford were present. All action items listed below passed unanimously.
• A report was given on an Oct. 22 town hall meeting about the possibility of putting a national cemetery in Clovis for veterans.
Commissioner Randy Crowder said the meeting was held because of a state effort to add additional veterans cemeteries. The three serving New Mexico veterans in Santa Fe, Bayard and Fort Bliss have 78,000 veterans living within 75 miles. That leaves 131,000 veterans living outside the 75-mile radius, which leads to traveling difficulties for friends and family members.
Additionally, Crowder said, Fort Bliss is expected to reach full capacity by 2025 and Santa Fe within 15 years.
In Clovis alone, there are up to 12,000 veterans eligible for burial in a national cemetery, which would be funded federally but maintained by the state. Whether the land is part of current cemeteries, or Ned Houk Park, or a private donation of land, it needs to be in the 3- to 5-acre range with easy access.
Crowder asked if the commission agreed to a resolution of support to apply for a national cemetery in Clovis, and all commissioners said they were on board.
• The commission approved renewal of health insurance for city employees.
The policies, City Manager Joe Thomas said, include maximum out-of-pocket costs of $3,000 for an individual and $6,000 for family, with a 7.74 percent premium increase. Employees opted against a 3.25 percent increase that raised those out-of-pocket expenses to $4,500 and $9,000, respectively.
The total premium increase for the city is $256,116, and falls within the city’s budgeted expectation of a 10 percent increase. Thomas said about half of the premium increase is directly tied to new requirements of the Affordable Care Act, but said that one new mandate credits co-pays and prescription drug costs towards the out-of-pocket expense cap.
• Thomas introduced the commission to Dan Heerding, who took over Monday as the city’s emergency management director.
Heerding, an Air Force retiree with a wife currently on active duty, has been with the Clovis Police Department for nine months in a communications role. He said he holds a public safety administration and emergency safety management degree from Grand Canyon University.
• Jean Waters and Ione Wood were re-appointed to the city’s commission on older adults.
• The commission approved the 2014 Relay for Life May 9-10 at Hillcrest Park. The annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society has been held at Ned Houk Park for the last 17 years following its inaugural run at Clovis High School in 1996.
Organizers had at first pushed for a move to Greene Acres Park, but concerns were raised about an all-day event shutting down important roads for school buses and parents during the school year. The change to Hillcrest Park alleviates those concerns while satisfying organizers’ desire to move the event in town to increase visibility and participation.
The most recent relay raised $107,500 with 908 total participants.
• A street closure request was approved for the Dec. 7 Christmas Light Parade on Main Street.
• A scheduled agenda item requesting assistance transferring prairie dogs on city land to Ector County, Texas, was postponed to the next commission meeting, as requesters are still gathering additional information pertinent to the request.
• The next meeting is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. Nov. 21 at the Clovis-Carver Public Library.
— CNJ staff writer Kevin Wilson