The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Portales considering tax, fee hikes

Cemetery fee increase tops discussion


October 19, 2017

PORTALES — A presentation on how Portales can raise revenue at Tuesday’s city council meeting had councilors asking how they could help the situation.

City Manager Sammy Standefer informed councilors at the beginning of the presentation that the city’s revenues are down in 2017 because local retail sales are lower and food and medical gross receipts taxes are not being collected because of state legislation.

He cited rising costs for services — including employees, materials, and utilities — as additional reasons for falling revenues.

Standefer told the council that staff had studied methods for increasing revenue and had found three potential areas of improvement: increasing fees for services, gross receipts tax, and property tax.

Of the three, the idea of raising fees at the cemetery garnered the most reaction from councilors.

“Right now our lot sales are $250 apiece. Our opening and closing charges are $75 a piece. Those are grossly down. Our yearly basic operating costs are right around $150,000, and that is not setting aside any room for capital improvements,” Standefer said.

Councilor Oscar Robinson suggested bringing the idea of increasing lot fees at the cemetery before the city’s finance committee.

Standefer agreed the time had come for the finance committee to discuss a fee increase.

“I’m on the recreation committee. This council and the city, we impose fees on the recreation of the youth of the community and parents just like that,” Robinson said.

He said it’s time to consider increasing cemetery costs.

“We’ve been talking about it for five years, and it’s no different than asking a mother or father to finance their kid’s soccer,” he said.

While councilor Dianne Parker agreed with Robinson, she recommended keeping the citizenry informed of any action.

Standefer said he would make more specific recommendations for revenue enhancements after he had met with the finance committee.


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