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

Ned Houk shooting range approved


April 6, 2018

CLOVIS — With little debate, and assurances previous issues with the facility have been addressed, the Clovis city commission unanimously voted to construct a shooting range at Ned Houk Park through a partnership with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

The project would include:

• Four combination trap/skeet fields that meet Amateur Trap Association and National Skeet Shooting Association standards.

• A sporting clays course with 12 to 18 stations with machines.

• Shade structures throughout the course.

• A multi-purpose building with an office, one or more classrooms, storage and bathrooms.

• Gravel parking lots and driveways.

• Benches and picnic tables throughout.

• A boundary fence with live fire signage.

Commissioner Sandra Taylor-Sawyer pointed out, with the help of Parks and Recreation Director Mark Dayhoff, that the trap shooting areas were redesigned to be farther away from property owners and lessen the noise impact to those property owners.

The Game and Fish Department would be responsible for obtaining and paying contractors for construction of the range, and would own all structures and features constructed with federal funds over the 25-year period of the agreement. The city would pay the costs of operating the facility, with a management agreement less than $60,000 per year with Eastern New Mexico Range Management.

Marty Tressell serves as president of ENMRM, which will oversee the range through an agreement with the city. He was asked if ENMRM would seek any retail opportunities.

“There are plenty of places where you can purchase ammunition or guns,” Tressell said. “It would create a whole other liability hazard for us as a club, and we have no interest in that.”

In other business at Thursday’s meeting (all votes 8-0 unless otherwise noted):

• The commission approved a 13-member steering committee for the city’s comprehensive plan process.

The committee will meet 3:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall, followed by a 6 p.m. Monday town hall at the Clovis Civic Center.

Members were appointed for their representation on various committees or for their expertise in an area of the city. Members are Dick Smith, Jeffrey Baker, Fidel Madrid, Carrie Bunce, Ladona Clayton, Becky Rowley, Candace Morrison, David Lansford, Tammy Waters, Gail Tarson, Lee Malloy, Donnie Lewellyn and Helen Casaus.

Consensus Planning, which is aiding the city with the plan, recommends appointing two members of the general public. Commissioners didn’t have anybody in mind during the meeting. Lansford said, “Maybe we’ll know after the first meeting,” if community members volunteer Monday.

• The commission approved a pair of street closures with Draggin’ Main on June 20.

One will be 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Main Street between 21st and Commerce for a “Gearhead Gathering” at the Marshall Middle School football field. The other will be 2 p.m. to midnight on Main Street between Grand and First Street.

Also approved was $5,713 in fees associated with those closures. Commissioner Fidel Madrid asked if such a waiver would run afoul of the state’s anti-donation clause. City Attorney David Richards said the item was a public event and the waiver benefited no particular person financially, and the commission had the latitude to determine if the event’s community value outweighed the non-collection of fees.

• The commission elected James Jennings, Russ Backoff and T.J. Curtis to the Civil Aviation Board.

Jennings and Backoff were re-applying for their positions, with Curtis, Dan True and Stefan Ivanescu also applying.

No candidate got all eight commissioner votes. Jennings got seven votes, with only Gary Elliott voting otherwise. Backoff received six votes, with Madrid and Helen Casaus voting otherwise. Curtis got six votes, with Ladona Clayton and Sandra Taylor-Sawyer making other selections. Ivanescu received those five remaining votes from Clayton, Elliott, Taylor-Sawyer, Madrid and Casaus.

• In separate votes, the commission appointed four people to the Parks, Recreation and Beautification Committee and the Lodger’s Tax Advisory Board.

Girish Pandya was re-appointed to his position on lodger’s tax, while Jamaal Williams was re-appointed to the parks committee. Also added to the parks committee were Joyce Gates and Lisa Pellegrino-Spear, who were the only other applicants for the vacancies.

• The commission approved a street closure for the 700 block of Main Street from noon to 1 p.m. May 3 for National Day of Prayer at the Curry County Courthouse. The request includes a waiver of $300 in fees for the street closure and use of the city stage.

• Commissioners tabled a request to waive EMT standby fees for the High Plains Junior Rodeo Finals to be held at the Curry County Events Center.

Representatives believed they were asking for waivers for both the finals and for a regular season rodeo in Clovis. It was suggested the matter be tabled and both heard at a later meeting.

The table vote was 7-1, with Taylor-Sawyer voting in dissent. She saw no reason to delay the vote on the finals rodeo.

• Commissioners looked at assignments to lower boards and committees. The item is standard every two years, with 32 committees outside of the city commission available. Each one requires at least one city commissioner serving.

Rube Render, the only new commissioner, said he would take all of the committee assignments from his predecessor, Tom Martin. Additionally, he agreed to take over service on the Civil Aviation Board from fellow District 4 Commissioner Chris Bryant.

Casaus said she’s been on the commission for about 18 months and hasn’t had any meetings to attend for most of her committee assignments. She questioned if some of those committees are necessary if they go that long without handling any business.

Lansford said he and City Manager Justin Howalt have been discussing that issue, and Howalt said he is looking at possible avenues to combine or eliminate some bodies. For example he said, the Voter ID task force was created to form a policy for voter identification requirements in municipal elections, and now sits idle with the policy finalized.

Howalt plans to bring recommendations to clean up the committees to the next meeting. Commissioners approved the assignments to Render and took no other action.

• Madrid asked for discussion at the next meeting on the fees issued for street closure requests, and the point of having them if the commission just waives them.


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