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

County approves deal with city, 3-2

Commissioner McDaniel: 'County's getting hosed'


May 16, 2018

CLOVIS — Two weeks after voting down an intergovernmental services agreement with the city of Clovis, on Tuesday the Curry County Commission approved two separate agreements nearly identical to the original.

Commissioner Angelina Baca's swing vote made the difference.

The previous agreement, which the commission opposed by a 3-2 vote on May 1, included payments from the city for the housing of detainees at the county's adult detention center and payments from the county to support the Clovis Master Water Assurance Plan.

The most substantial change to the agreement the commission approved Tuesday was separating the city's jail money and the county's water money into two different agreements.

Baca voted against the agreement on May 1 but approved it on Tuesday, along with Curry County Commissioners Chet Spear and Robert Thornton, who also voted to approve the agreement on May 1. Spear and Thornton negotiated the deal with Clovis City Commissioners Ladona Clayton and Sandra Taylor-Sawyer.

"I think the first meeting there wasn't a whole lot of information out there regarding the pros and cons of the agreement," Baca said after Tuesday's meeting. "I wasn't trying to push no, douse it with water and put it to bed, I just wanted to explore the other options and give us some time to discuss. And I think it was a good thing because I think they went back and discussed other issues and separated the two issues.

"Do I think that it's fair for us? Not necessarily, but when you compromise nobody ever walks away from the table happy because everybody gives and takes some and in this instance I think the city has given and we have given and both of us have taken. And so I supported the changes given the knowledge and information that all of us had at hand to make these decisions."

Commission Chairman Ben McDaniel and Commissioner Seth Martin voted against the agreements on Tuesday, same as May 1.

McDaniel said he wanted to do more research on the agreement and reach out to the New Mexico Association of Counties to see how other municipalities in the state have handled similar issues.

"Maybe I'm losing it, but that sounds to me like the county's getting hosed," McDaniel said. "I'm sorry I'd love to go for this and have it behind me and not have to deal with it again but mercy, there's a lot of unanswered questions ... I'm a county commissioner, I do not feel this is a fair deal to the county even remotely."

Martin's main objection was the fact the city had not defined specifically which aspect of the Clovis Master Water Assurance Plan the county's payments would go toward.

The agreements approved by the commission on Tuesday amended the payment structure slightly, increasing the city's contribution to the county up to $135,000 a year, which means both entities would pay each other $1.35 million over the 10-year deal.

After the meeting Thornton said the $5,000 a year increase was discussed during negotiations but had not been finalized with the city prior to the county commission's vote on Tuesday.

Clayton said her understanding was the change may have been a decisive factor in the County Commission approving the agreements.

"I understand why they made that decision and throughout all the negotiations we have engaged in, the goal has always been to find some common ground and to work toward a compromise," Clayton said. "I believe they did what they felt was necessary to find that common ground, find a compromise between the two entities, and now my task and Commissioner Taylor-Sawyer's task is to take it to the city commission for further discussion and consideration."

Clayton said she was not comfortable speaking for other city commissioners, who are expected to vote on the measure Thursday. "But my hope is that all of us individually will consider this new proposal and the context of finally reaching an agreement that moves both the city and the county forward."

The County Commission approved both agreements contingent upon approval at the city meeting.

Also at Tuesday's meeting:

• The commission unanimously approved a resolution establishing the Ranchvale Fire District. Curry County Fire and Safety Director David Kube said the fire district will be about 160 square miles and an adequate water supply is already available in the area.

• No action was taken following an approximately 90-minute executive session held after the meeting "to discuss limited personnel" and "to discuss matters subject to the attorney-client privilege pertaining to threatened or pending litigation in which Curry County is or may become a participant," according to the agenda.


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