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

Water authority to transition to six-person board


April 26, 2020

CLOVIS — The Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority will see some changes to its makeup less than four weeks from now. It spent some time Thursday preparing for just that.

Effective May 20, the board will transition to a six-person board to reflect the departures of Melrose, Grady and Curry County from the authority.

As first constructed in 2011, the authority board is currently at seven members with three from Clovis, two from Portales, one from Curry County and one that rotates annually between Melrose, Grady, Texico and Elida.

The six-member board makeup retains the three Clovis and two Portales citizens, with the remaining member rotating annually between Elida and Texico. That eliminates the Curry County seat held by representative Robert Thornton, who is the current board secretary.

Chair David Lansford said it’s unlikely the board can gain back Thornton’s services. Elida is first on the rotating vote and even when Texico’s year comes up Lansford doesn’t believe Thornton is eligible because he lives outside of Texico city limits.

Authority Administrator Orlando Ortega noted the secretary position was a pretty important one, as it requires frequent if not daily monitoring of authority activities and the person is a signatory for the authority bank account.

Member Chris Bryant nominated Juan Garza for the secretary position, and the nomination was declined by Garza because he felt he had too many outside matters to do a good job with additional authority responsibilities.

Bryant was then asked to take the secretary position, and serve on the authority’s development and policy board as well. He accepted, and will be appointed in those positions May 20.

In other business at the Thursday meeting:

• Lansford updated members on its desired renewal of Ute Reservoir water reservation.

Sandy Chancey of the Ute Water Commission said the commission planned to handle the matter soon, but its timeline has been obviously interrupted.

The current deal, which runs through 2020, allows water authority members to reserve water at $1.50 per acre foot per year and to purchase the water for $25 per acre foot once the ability to take delivery is in place.

“My hope is we can continue with the same terms of the current contract, but that remains to be seen,” Lansford said. “That’s what we’re going to work for, another 10-year contract.”

• A document of record was discussed with Cannon Air Force Base regarding materials for a lateral connection from the authority’s pipeline system to the base’s water system.

Ortega said Cannon would store the lateral connection equipment and install them in house for security reasons. Ortega didn’t anticipate any issues with the agreement.

• Authority members looked at a bid package for the Finished Water 3A phase of the water project. The $17 million package would cover 10.59 miles of pipeline and take the project from Cannon Air Force Base to Portales. The item was for authority information only and no action was taken.

• State consultant Joe Thompson noted that oil price drops, including a negative pricing, was a “scary moment” for the state’s Legislative Finance Council.

He anticipates a special session later this year will have major impacts on funding for nearly everything in the state. Thompson said the $1 million the authority received from the state wasn’t safe from the chopping block, but it had better chances than other items because construction and infrastructure projects mean jobs and gross receipts taxes.

“There are lots of people who think projects like ours might fare better,” Thompson said, “because we’re ready to do the work.”

• The next meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. May 28 at the Sitterly Professional Center. Lansford said he was “strongly in favor of meeting in person” following the last two meetings held via conference calls.


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