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

That's no, no and no

Clovis voters overwhelmingly reject tax hikes


March 7, 2018

Tony Bullocks

Debbie Green of Clovis inserts her ballot into a polling machine Tuesday at the YRB. Green said she always votes as part of her civic duty.

CLOVIS — And that's a no. A big, loud no times three.

Clovis voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected three proposals aimed at improving infrastructure and quality of life that would have cost property owners $20 million.

"Well I think that there was a lot of support from the community wanting to maintain our property tax levels at the rates that they're currently at," Clovis City Manager Justin Howalt said. "So I'm just going to encourage everyone to shop local and try to get our investments made in our community through our gross receipt taxes to continue to make our capital improvements."

Voters also selected a new city commissioner - Rube Render in District 4 - and returned Fidel Madrid to his seat in District 3 for another four years.

Render defeated opponent Justin Hummer, 510 votes to 425. Tom Martin declined to seek another term.

Madrid received 179 votes. Challengers David Bryant and Jose Griego had 107 and 58, respectively.

The general obligation bonds were soundly defeated:

• Question 1 for road improvements went down 2,506 votes to 450.

• Question 2 for senior center improvements went down 2,579 to 327.

• Question 3 for improving wellness centers went down 2,629 to 281.

If voters had approved, the city would have put bonds on a four-year cycle, with the first renewal vote set for 2022. The owner of a $150,000 house would have seen a tax increase of $390 per year, officials had said.

Voters were having none of that.

Howalt said he wanted the voters to approve the bonds but was not stunned that the questions failed.

"In discussions that I've had throughout the community, I was hoping that they would pass but then there's some realities that I thought there's definitely a chance for them not to," Howalt said.

Howalt said there aren't any other methods that the city will pursue to gain the same level of funding, but he is eyeing other methods to secure funding for capital projects.

"Not to generate these sums of money because everything we do obviously is tied through gross receipt tax so we'll continue to go after grants, we'll continue to go at the federal and the state level and like I said continue to encourage our citizens to invest in their community and put their dollars here," Howalt said.

Incumbent city commissioners Juan Garza, Gary Elliott and Helen Casaus all ran unopposed and will have their terms extended four years.

Now that he has been elected for a third term, Madrid wants to continue working on the road projects that are already underway.

"I'm hoping to get all those streets done that we started like MLK," Madrid said. We need to finish MLK, which is already in the works. That's going to start this spring, we've got the plans. The engineers are now surveying it and all so it's going to be from Seventh to Grand, we're going to get that down, that's in the works now. Then I want to get MLK on the other side from Seventh to 21st. Those are my goals."

Render said he does not have any specific goals other than working with the other commissioners and being a productive member of the commission.

"Right now I'm just happy that this is over," Render said. "A long time ago an old Republican told me that you either run unopposed or you run scared and that's true, so that's where I'm at. This is the fourth time I've run for office and I've lost three times before so right now I just want to savor the victory for a while."

Municipal Judge Jan Garrett ran unopposed and was elected to another term.

Officials said 19 percent of registered votes participated in the election, including 12 Curry County residents who own property in the city.


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