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Officials considering new city flag

Managing Editor

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The Clovis city commission is agreeable to the idea of a new flag for the city. Commissioners just aren’t sure what that flag should look like, or how they can make sure citizens have the final say on the process.

In a discussion-only item to conclude Thursday’s meeting, which was otherwise an hour-long affair of consensus votes, commissioners viewed 16 suggested designs for a new city flag.

Mayor David Lansford said he was contacted by Clovis High School junior Mitch Weber, who was not at the meeting. Weber, Lansford said, met with him about flag design and his aims for a simpler city flag.

“The more simple a flag is, and more bold its decorations,” Lansford said, “the better it is.”

A good example, Lansford said, was the New Mexico flag with only a red Zia symbol atop a yellow background.

The Clovis flag, out of town for display at the New Mexico Municipal League conference, is yellow with the city seal. The city has only one flag and it is almost always in storage at city offices.

Designs suggested to supplant the flag were a mix of red, yellow and sometimes blue overlays with various graphics. Commissioners weren’t sure what to incorporate among the Zia symbol, the state name or a Clovis point.

Clovis points are projectile points first found in Clovis in the late 1920s. They date back to the North American Paleoindian period about 13,500 years ago. Should they become part of the flag, Lansford admitted an education effort would likely be required.

Commissioner Bobby Sandoval was comfortable picking around five finalists, but didn’t like having the final say on the matter.

“I’d like to see it done, but I wonder if you’d want commissioners and the mayor doing it,” Sandoval said. “It’s the Clovis flag; it’s not the city commission flag.”

The commission seemed inclined to revisit the issue, but didn’t specify a future meeting for that purpose.

In other business at the meeting:

• Lansford gave a preliminary report of last week’s Eastern New Mexico Water Summit, noting there were 168 who attended. He said a larger review would be coming from Ladona Clayton, who missed the Thursday meeting along with Mayor Pro Tem Juan Garza.

• John Ryan of Capitol Consultants, which provides federal lobbying and advocacy on behalf of the city, reported on his recent trip with city personnel to Washington, D.C.

He reported positive meetings, and noted the trip fell during the House Democrats’ sit-in following the Orlando nightclub shooting. The sit-in kept Rep. Ben Ray Lujan from meeting with Clovis officials, but Ryan said Lujan promised in-person time during his upcoming visit to the city.

Commissioner Gary Elliott called the trip, his first, an eye-opening experience and that, “I thought everybody was pretty responsive, everywhere we went.”

• The commission approved on a 6-0 vote an ordinance and resolution for $160 million in industrial revenue bonds for the Phase III expansion of Southwest Cheese.

The agreement, which has had several small revisions over the last few months, included a 30 percent payment in lieu of taxes to make up for the 30-year property tax waiver. The total of $5,370,214 will be split among Clovis Municipal Schools (35 percent), city water funds (20), economic incentive taxes (13), Curry County (13), city road funds (10) and Clovis Community College (9).

The PILT will jump to a 35 percent rate if the plant does not retain 400 jobs during the bond life.

• Commissioners voted 6-0 to approve giving Mid-Frisian Dairy/Freanna Yogurt equipment previously located in the Froz Fruit plant that was to house the failed Beauty, Health and Science Innovations cosmetic plant.

The building is now owned by the yogurt company. The company will bear the costs for repair and installation of the equipment, which is currently housed at the city’s public works department.

• Commissioners retained three of four members of the Clovis-Carver Library Board — Kelly Corn, Diana Huey and Dianna Thompson — and voted on Mel Eperthener for the final position.

Eperthener, who will replace Carol Singletary, is operations manager at the Clovis Civic Center and spent years working for Hastings. He saw the library board as ideal community service, giving his love of books and reading. He was the only one of eight applicants to attend the meeting.

Corn, Huey, Thompson and Eperthener all received five votes, while Singletary received four.