Two candidates vie for City Commission District 4: Jack Twite and the incumbent, Lunell Winton
Jack W. Twite Sr.
Employment: Grocery manager at Wal-Mart.
Political experience: None.
Occupation: Retired travel agent and has worked in real estate.
Political experience: City commissioner for last four years. Serves on numerous boards including Plains Regional Medical Center.
How do you feel about the proposed quarter-percent gross-receipts tax increase?
Twite: I am for it because this tax is needed. Right now everything we do we need to get money from somewhere and it comes from taxes. The bad part about it is that we are always taxing the homeowner and the property owners. It is about time everybody steps up and takes some action. We are only going to be able to do this collectively; everybody has to pay their fair share. This is the only way we are going to be able to do it. It will give us more revenue. We need it for our police department, we need it for our fire department, we need it for our medics and we need it for our water plan. And with everyone collectively doing it, it will get done. If we don’t get the tax increase, the money will have to come from someplace, and I hate to see it come from the home owner and property owners again.
Winton: I think it is very necessary. Our infrastructure, for one, is bad here. We are about 10 years behind. It would take us 10 years from when we get this tax enacted to get everything repaired. Our infrastructure is in bad need of repair. We have a lot of police and fire equipment that is needing to be repaired. Where else are we going to get the money to do all of this? We don’t have another source to go to. It is something that has to be done.
Which is more important, infrastructure improvements or raises for city workers, including police officers?
Twite: Especially the police officers, the fire department and the medics — those are my top priorities. The infrastructure is also needed but we need to make our priorities. We’re working well with our infrastructure right now. There are some things that need to be done and this tax will help. But I feel our priorities need to be with our police, fire, and medics and our infrastructure will come along with that.
Winton: I think if we get the gross receipts tax enacted we can do both. One of the plans is that when it passes we can free up some money that we have been using to replace fire equipment and police cars. We free that up with the tax money and we can look at giving policemen, firemen and all our city employees a raise. They all deserve a raise, they are all hard-working people and I am proud of all of our city employees. They are dedicated and they all deserve raises.
How do you feel about the city’s participation in the Ute water pipeline project?
Twite: I don’t know all the details, I would rather not say “yea” or “nay” only because I don’t know all the details. If I was fully versed on it and it was something that benefited us — you bet you.
Winton: It looks like we are going to need some water from somewhere, and I don’t know of anybody who can come up with a better idea than the Ute Pipeline Project. I would like to see us get federal funding. That would be the best way to fund it.
How do you feel about the water conservation measures adopted by the city commission? Should some measures be mandatory?
Twite: I do think we are going to need it. If we don’t get this other water plan done we are going to need it. I do think we need to sit down and relook at some of it and see that a lot of our wasted water is coming from the city itself. I am sure you have driven down the road and seen the water ... just gushing down the road. Who monitors that? The city. So to say that we need it, yes we do. If this other water project comes through, we’ll be OK, but if it doesn’t come through we need to start taking measures now.
Winton: I would think the way we have it in place now, unless we get a serious shortage, I don’t think we are going to need to make it mandatory. But if there does become a serious shortage and we do see violations we may have to; if people will not willingly of their own accord try to conserve water, I think we will have to make it mandatory. I hope that is not ever a necessary measure.
What projects not mentioned would you work for as a commissioner?
Twite: I think in order for us and the city to continually grow, we are going to have to have more activities. That is something that is going to have to (happen) with the city commission and county. The city and the county are going to have work together. We’ve got to move forward and this is where we’ve got to go. We have got to get the younger people, we have to get the older people and we have to find something for the middle aged. If we don’t get this going, with our infrastructure we can build it all we want, we can raise taxes all we want, but if we don’t have enough to bring people in we will no longer have a city in Clovis.
Winton: I would like to see some more funding for our airport. I am on the civil aviation board and we would like to get some funding to lengthen the runway so we can handle larger airplanes. We are still proceeding with the railroad expansion and still trying to get all our funding together for the overpass, which looks like it is getting pretty close. I would also like to move forward with the downtown revitalization. I think that is a necessary part of Clovis. We need to preserve what we have down there and make it a vital part of the community as it once was.
This Q&A was compiled by Ryan Lengerich of the Clovis News Journal. He can be reached at