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

Commission tables house demolition request


February 16, 2020

CLOVIS — City commissioners on Thursday tabled a request to condemn a home on the 900 block of Purdue Street.

Building Safety Director Pete Wilt said the home had been without utilities for years, and the person living there had set fires inside and outside of the house to keep warm.

Wilt noted two years of attempts to resolve the issues at the home.

William Jones Jr. of Houston called into the meeting and said he is the owner of the property and was not aware of the issues until he was sent a letter in January.

Curry County assessor records show Jones has owned the property since July.

Jones asked the commission to give him some time to rectify the issues, as he noted he just had to make payments to get the water turned on.

Wilt said Jones would have to hire a licensed electrician to look at the house before electricity could be restored.

During the conversation, Mayor David Lansford said, “it sounds like a visit to Clovis is imperative to getting this resolved.”

Jones said he wouldn’t be able to make it into Clovis until the week of March 9, and asked if the item could be tabled until then. The commission is scheduled for a March 19 meeting.

“If he comes down (around) March 9 and comes into my office,” Wilt said, “we can have it resolved by March 19. I’m confident of that.”

District 3 Commissioner Helen Casaus was skeptical of reports that just one person lived in the residence, as she sees people coming in and out of the house at all hours.

The vote was 7-1 in favor of tabling. Mayor Pro Tem Juan Garza cast the dissenting vote, citing concerns about liability in keeping the structure as is for up to five weeks.

In other business during Thursday’s Clovis city commission meeting:

• Commissioners Chris Bryant and Rube Render said they planned a district meeting on restarting neighborhood watch programs. Residents from any district were invited to the 6 p.m. Feb. 25 meeting at Kingswood United Methodist Church.

• The commission voted 8-0 to accept an application for a Community Development Block Grant for the proposed Hillcrest Park Senior Center.

The $1 million project — $750,000 CDBG funds and $250,000 in city matching dollars — would go toward a kitchen for the Curry Resident Senior Meals Association. City Manager Justin Howalt said the kitchen could be considered a standalone project because of CRSMA’s meal delivery component.

Efforts are ongoing, Howalt said, to seek $4.3 million in general obligation bonds in the November general election that would cover the rest of the center’s Phase 1 construction.

Sandy Chancey, executive director of Eastern Plains Council of Governments, said the council held four public meetings to gather public input. The best-attended meeting was at the Friendship Senior Center, which currently hosts CRSMA.

Commissioner Sandra Taylor-Sawyer noted low attendance at the meetings, particularly at the meeting where she was the only person attending.

Chancey responded that public hearing meetings for CDBG input have never drawn crowds.

“I’ve had them during evenings,” Chancey said. “I’ve had them during lunch hours. I’ve had them on the weekend; don’t do them on the weekends. It’s just hard to get anybody interested in coming to these hearings.”

• Commissioners unanimously approved a scope of work agreement with Dekker Perich Sabatini for Clovis Municipal Airport terminal improvements that would allow for Transportation Security Administration presence.

Howalt said preliminary sketches have been made, and estimated about four weeks of design work was ahead. When asked how long terminal conversion would take, Howalt said he couldn’t give an answer because it depended on actions out of his control.

The Department of Transportation recently awarded Key Lime Air an Essential Air Service contract with Denver International Airport as a connecting hub. The airport will be served by Boutique until the end of April with service to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Howalt said Key Lime could operate without TSA service if the work is not done by then.

• Prior to the commission meeting, Howalt was asked about the possibility of appealing DOT’s decision to select Key Lime Air over the city’s preference for Contour Air Service, which would have flown to DFW. Howalt said the city was looking into setting up a conference call with the DOT to discuss the decision, which has drawn the ire of some community members.

Howalt said the city will weigh appeal options but noted the odds would not be on Clovis’ side.

If the city does appeal, Howalt said, the decision would not be a reflection on Key Lime but on Denver as the connecting hub instead of Dallas/Fort Worth.

• An award was made to Automated Control Systems, Inc., for HVAC improvements at the Clovis Civic Center.

City Purchasing Agent Bryan Jones said he was surprised to only get one bid for the job, since plenty of interest was evident before the job went out to bid.

Howalt noted Global Spectrum was covering $50,000 of the total $172,500.

• Lansford told commission members the city had sent a letter to Curry County asking if it wanted to continue having representation on the city water policy advisory committee given its recent decision to withdraw from the Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority.

Lansford said the county hadn’t sent a written response, but it was a fair assumption it wished to stay on the committee after the county commission reappointed Chet Spear as its representative.

• The next meeting is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. Feb. 27 at the North Annex of the Clovis-Carver Public Library.


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