Meetings watch: Clovis City Commission — May 2

Despite being a point of contention during the April 17 Clovis City Commission meeting, the issue of allowing $23,000 of Lodger’s Tax funds to go toward the salary of the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce events coordinator passed unanimously during Thursday’s meeting.

“We have done this for years,” said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ernie Kos of requesting the funds for the events coordinator salary. “This is nothing out of the ordinary.”

The events coordinator’s salary is the only salary aided by Lodger’s Tax funds, Kos said.

“We have an events coordinator position here that recruits and promotes events for the entire community,” Kos said. “The Lodger’s Tax is to promote tourism. … Based on state ordinance the  (events coordinator) salary does qualify.”

A concession stand at Hillcrest Park Zoo, to be operated by Baby J’s owner Nathan Freeman, was withdrawn from the consent agenda and discussed as a new business item.

Commissioner Thomas Martin said he was concerned about the 15 percent of gross receipts that the city was to get from Freeman’s concession earnings.

Martin said he has experience paying a similar amount to operate a business.

“It effectively doubled our break-even point,” Martin said of the fee. “To have to double our break-even point, well, it forced us out of business.

“I want to see the services out there,” Martin continued, “but … I want (Freeman) to make it.”

The Commission passed the item, but with a major change to the fee. Freeman will instead pay a graduated percentage of his gross receipts each month.

All other items on the consent agenda were approved. Those were:

• An annual resolution required by the Open Meetings Act regarding notice of City Commission and Advisory Board meetings;

• A request for approval to waive dumping fees at the Clovis Regional Landfill for Clovis/Curry County residents from noon today until noon on Monday for the Great American Cleanup. There was also a request that the dumping of tires be allowed by residential customers only but limited to nine passenger vehicle tires per household;

• A request to allow the Clovis High School gifted and talented class to hold a Saturday in the Park event from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. May 17 at Hillcrest Park;

• A request to allow the El Llano Grande District Cub Scout Association to hold a Cub Scout Twilight Camp from 3 p.m.-8 p.m. June 2-6 at Ned Houk Park.

Presentations and proclamations on the agenda were:

• May 13 as “Nonagenarian Day”;

• May 9-10 for “Clovis Rocks! for the Cure” 2014 Relay for Life, which is scheduled during those days at Hillcrest Park;

• The month of May 2014 named as “Great American Cleanup Month” in the city of Clovis. Parks and Recreation Director Bill Bizzell said the annual Great American Cleanup event in Clovis will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday at 500 Sycamore St.

Resolutions and ordinances passed unanimously were:

• An adoption of an annual resolution and agreement between the city of Clovis and the Eastern Plains Council of Governments. EPCOG will increase its fees, which has not been done since 1997. The previous amount paid by the city was $7,502, the revised rate is $9,152.

EPCOG Executive Director Sandy Chancey gave the Commission an update on the organization’s once backlogged audits. She said the 2013 audit should be complete in a few weeks, bringing EPCOG up to date on its audits.

Commissioner Fidel Madrid serves as an EPCOG representative, and commissioner Robert Sandoval serves as an alternate. Both will remain at these posts.

• An approval of a resolution opposing the naming of the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species, encouraging the New Mexico Congressional Delegation to work vigorously to oppose the action of Fish and Wildlife Service and encouraging the communities of eastern New Mexico to officially comment to Fish and Wildlife Service of the adverse impacts the action will have on the community and state.

“We feel it is an economic issue,” said Raymond Mondragon, economic and community development planner with EPCOG, who approached the Commission with the matter.

Communications items were:

• Gene Porter, who approached the Commission regarding a “Gearhead Gathering” car enthusiast event 5 p.m.-10 p.m. June 28 on Main Street. Porter said the event would not be a car show, but would allow car enthusiasts to show off their vehicles. It would be an event that would attract many visitors to the area to “drag” their cars.

“Interestingly enough, I dragged a lot of Main when I was a kid,” said Clovis Mayor David Lansford. He said it was a common activity in Clovis in the 1960s and 1970s.

• Mondragon gave an update on Tuesday’s job fair.

“It was a success in our opinion,” he said, stating that the fair had attracted 392 job seekers.

• Louis Gordon gave a presentation regarding the city of Clovis FEMA rating.

• Rev. Jason Swann with Faith Christian Family Church gave a presentation on community efforts performed by church volunteers during “Love Week,” April 20-26.

— Compiled by staff writer Vanessa Kahin