Clovis state of the city text

 

Last updated 5/24/2021 at 4:36pm



The following are the prepared remarks from Mayor Mike Morris for the state of the city address delivered Wednesday from the Clovis-Carver Public Library:

City of Clovis Mission Statement

“It is the mission of Clovis city government to provide quality municipal services in the best, most effective and most economical manner; to operate in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration with all people and in every endeavor; to expect every employee of the City to perform to the highest of their capacity and to provide leadership and resources in a community-based program of economic development; and to consider every issue on the basis that Clovis is a “Community for Family.”

2020 was a challenging year for the City of Clovis as it adjusted to the Center for Disease Control and the Public Health Orders of the State of New Mexico related to COVID-19. It was a year unlike any that we have seen before in our lifetime, and I am grateful to the many people who rose to meet the many challenges we were faced with. Throughout the changes and closures our city employees continued to perform their work in serving the residents of our community with outstanding professionalism. They adjusted their work environments and schedules to accommodate the needs of our community while at the same time applying for grants to assist local businesses negatively impacted by the closures.


2020 will be remembered not only for the negative effect the pandemic had on our daily lives and businesses, but also for the innovative ways in which city departments handled this state of emergency. As we continue our efforts, we as a City can be proud of the way we worked together to see to the needs of the most vulnerable in our community; the new business models that were developed; our ability to keep people working and moving forward; the heroics of our medical and first responders; our essential workers who plowed through difficult days; and so much more. This year showcased our resiliency and compassion.


I would particularly like to thank the Clovis city commission for their leadership, dedication to service, and commitment to ensuring that the citizens and businesses of our community received the services that they needed during the past year. They have done tremendous work over the past year in so many areas including supporting state changes to improve our retail portfolio, providing $4,260,000 in funding assistance through state grants, not only for local businesses, housing, childcare and utilities to those impacted by COVID-19, and approving a position classification review, employee benefits, and compensation plan study.


INFRASTRUCTURE & WATER

In March 2020 the City of Clovis completed the $6.4 million construction work on 7th Street between Norris and Maple Street. The work included road widening, drainage, sidewalks, bike paths, and ADA improvements. The City of Clovis is now seeking funding for the final phase of this project between Maple Street and Main Street.

In September 2020 the City received $146,667 from the State of New Mexico for intersection improvements at 7th and Thornton. The project is currently out to bid with construction scheduled to begin in summer 2021.

The City has contracted HDR Engineering to design drainage improvements on Llano Estacado Boulevard between Norris Street and Humphrey Road, including Woodlark Road and Kearny in the Raintree Subdivision, to alleviate flooding challenges in those areas. Plans are 95% complete, and the project has an estimated funding cost of $3 million.


In anticipation of BNSF adding a third main line to their system, the City relocated sanitary sewer lines in the Norris Street area to accommodate BNSF needs.

In September 2020 the City approved Molzen Corbin Engineers to conduct a hydro-logic and hydraulic modeling study and map revision for submittal to FEMA. The $355,000 project is being completed with state capital outlay funding and city drainage funding and will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2021.


In October 2020 the City approved funding for the construction of embankment improvements at Sorgen Playa following New Mexico Department of Transportation guardrail improvements along Llano Estacado. The construction of the project has been completed.

To improve response time and safety, Emergency Preemption Equipment has been installed at almost all City Traffic intersections and Police and Fire are starting to install units in their vehicles, which has cost about $20,000.00 per year for the last several years.

2020 paving projects included Thornton Street from Grand to 7th Street, Fred Daugherty Avenue from Norris to Morse Street, and Peacock Place from Fred Daugherty Avenue to 14th Street, at a total cost of $214,493.

The Clovis Regional Solid Waste Facility is in the process of closing Landfill Cells 1 through 4 and utilizing Cell 5 which is estimated to serve Clovis for 25 years. 78.268 tons of trash were taken to the facility in 2020.

Throughout 2020 Molzen Corbin Engineers advanced the design of improvements to Martin Luther King Boulevard between 7th Street and 21st Street which are now at 95%. The $436,766 in work was funded with capital outlay funding and City drainage funds.


WATER PROJECTS

The City of Clovis is committed to addressing and supporting the water needs for our citizens and tomorrow evening EPCOR Water will be providing their 40-year water plan in support of these efforts.

Effluent Reuse

Phase 1C was completed in 2020 and included construction of approximately 10,000 linear feet of 18-inch diameter reuse transmission pipeline; construction of approximately 11,000 linear feet of 3 inch to 12-inch diameter reuse distribution pipeline and 5 connections to the transmission line and approximately 250 linear feet of jack and bores. It provided service to City Park, Bell Park, Marshall Junior High School, Greene Acres Park, Robbie Pierce Complex and James Bickley Elementary School at a cost of $2.534 million to construct.


Phase 1D is currently under construction and includes construction of approximately 5,840 linear feet of 18-inch diameter and 400 linear feet of 16-inch reuse transmission pipeline, a 1 million-gallon composite elevated storage tank including earthwork, foundation, piping, disinfection equipment and piping, RTU and electrical; construction of approximately 7,500 linear feet of 3 inch to 12 inch diameter reuse distribution pipeline and 4 connections to the transmission line. This phase cost $4,341,079 to construct. Completion of Phase 1D of the project is scheduled for May 2021.


Ute Pipeline Project

The City of Clovis continues to support the work of the Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority in constructing the Ute Pipeline Project to provide a future sustainable water supply for Clovis area residents. 

In 2020 construction of Finished Water 2 was completed.  The project consisted of 7.5 miles of 33-inch pipeline beginning northwest of Cannon Air Force Base and connecting Cannon Air Force Base and the Clovis Community water system.  The cost of construction and engineering project management was $27,274,723.17.

In 2020, $9,660,935 was made available in funding from the State of New Mexico towards Phase Finished Water 3A of the project for the construction of an 11.5 mile portion of 20-inch transmission water pipeline beginning northwest of Cannon Air Force Base to Portales.   Construction is scheduled to begin in July 2021 at a total cost of $21,212,414.33.   Finished Water 3B, which is the second phase of Finished Water 3, will connect to the Portales system and will begin shortly after the construction of Finished Water 3A at a cost of about $17 million. The United States Bureau of Reclamation has provided $27,891,181 toward the construction of Finished Water 3.

In May 2020, the amendment to the Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority Statute (HB76) became effective allowing the member communities of Curry County, Melrose, and Grady to withdraw from the Authority.

In July 2020, the Authority began work on 90% design on Finished Water 1 which will connect to Finished Water 2 located northwest of Cannon Air Force Base and travel north to the proposed Water Treatment Facility.  The 15.5 miles of 39-inch transmission pipeline will be shovel ready by November 2021.

In August 2020, the Authority began work on the Texico Lateral Alignment Study to identify and determine a best pipeline lateral alternative to the member community of Texico.

In July 2020, the renewal process began on the contract between the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission and the Ute Reservoir Water Commission. This renewal includes the water allocations to the Ute Reservoir Water Commission that includes the Authority member communities. The total Authority members allocation is 16,415 acre feet. The contract is for a term of 10 years and was approved and signed by representatives of these agencies and Quay County in late December 2020.

CITY SERVICES

City of Clovis’ public service departments continue to provide excellent service to our community.

SUPPORT SERVICES

The City of Clovis Finance Department is seeking to improve its interaction with the public through its utility billing processes. For the last year and a half, the City has begun implementing the Tyler Munis suite of modules with the assistance of Information Technology. Once fully implemented the new system will provide citizens and title companies access to their billing information.

In March 2020 the city commission approved a revised Personnel Policy Manual. In August 2020 the city commission approved the Position Classification Study Review. In December 2020 Cynthia Wentworth joined the City team as its Human Resources Director.

POLICE DEPARTMENT

The Clovis Police Department continues to serve our community, even in these difficult times and with continued challenges. During 2020, the Clovis Police Department answered 33,590 calls for service, compared to 33,343 in 2019. The calls for service were up by .75% from the prior year. The department did see a decrease in all areas of service within the community, and much of this can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Clovis Police Department Dispatch Center, which takes emergency and non-emergency requests for law enforcement, fire and EMS, generated 51,061 calls for service for 2020. This was an increase of 611 calls from the previous year.

The police department updated the in-car computer systems to assist officers in completing their daily operations. They replaced 25 computers, moving them from the Panasonic G-1 to the Panasonic CF-33 systems.

The statistics for the department are showing decreases in criminal activity. There was an overall drop in the index crimes by -26% for 2020, and much of this could be due to the pandemic.

With the recruiting and retention challenges that the department has been facing, personnel have done an outstanding job of performing their duties.

Two long serving officers with the department retired in 2020; Detective Dale Rice after 23 years of continuous service and Master Police Officer Russell Gould with almost 24 years of service. Both of these officers were also U.S. Air Force retirees with 20 years of service to our country. With over 43 years of combined dedicated service by both of these gentlemen, they committed their lives to service and we wish them the best in their next adventures. The Police Department averaged 11 open positions for police officers during 2020.

Animal Control

In 2020 the Animal Control Division responded to 4,074 calls for service. The shelter took in 1,702 animals. 237 were adopted, 198 were reclaimed, 602 were euthanized, 73 were protective custody release and 592 were rescued. 832 pet licenses were issued in 2020. The City of Clovis is continuing to seek ways to reduce the number of animals coming into the shelter, and is working with the Humane Society and other rescue groups to adopt and rescue animals.

FIRE DEPARTMENT

In 2020 the Clovis Fire Department adjusted their protocols to accommodate the changing CDC and public health orders regarding COVID-19 in assisting and transporting COVID 19 positive patients. Thanks to the implementation of the EMS Division Pilot program, the department was able to adequately staff ambulances for the influx of COVID possible patients.

The Clovis Fire Department has 7 fire stations in service and a total of 85 personnel. In 2020 the department responded to a total of 10,462 calls for service, including 606 fire calls, which was an increase of 13.95% compared to 2019.

Throughout the year the department continued to provide the best, most effective emergency services to the community. Their personnel are provided excellent equipment to perform their job as well as outstanding training and advancement opportunities.

The City of Clovis was pleased when the Clovis Fire Department’s Insurance Services Office rating moved from a Class 3 to a Class 2 in 2018. ISO creates ratings for fire departments and their surrounding communities and calculates how well-equipped the fire department is to put out fires in the community.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

The Emergency Management Department provides support to Clovis and Curry County. In 2020 the department was involved in the nationwide COVID-19 response and became the focal point for obtaining critical Personnel Protective Equipment for all essential business that were experiencing supply shortages due to the pandemic. They provided: 7110 Critical medical grade N-95 masks, 48,850 Procedure Masks, 3720 KN-95 Masks, 22,978 disposable gowns, 54,600 Medical grade gloves, 132 gallons of Hand Sanitizer, 5100 Face Shields and 2600 cloth Masks which were distributed to various essential providers within the community.

Εmergency Management provided continuous updates from state and federal partners to assist local leaders in making informed decisions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic response. They also assisted the Curry County Clerk’s Office in ensuring the 2020 General Election was conducted in a safe COVID-19 free environment.

Emergency Management provided the framework for Curry County and the City of Clovis in declaring a Public Health Emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This action assisted in securing state and federal funds that were allocated as a result of the pandemic.

The department continued expending fiscal year 2019 Department of Homeland Security grant funding for first responders in Curry County and spent more than $144,000 on various equipment purchases and salaries. Funds are focused on emerging national and local threats. In 2020 additional grant funding was secured to update the Curry County Hazard Mitigation Plan. This plan is updated every 5 years to reflect current and emerging hazards in the community and surrounding area.

SENIOR SERVICES

The Senior Services Department was shut down in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and has only recently seen a partial reopening. When the center closed as a result of Public Health Orders, the Senior Services department faced many challenges, and through perseverance and dedication, they were successful in overcoming those challenges in the ensuing months.

Before the pandemic, hundreds of seniors passed through the senior center daily. Unable to attend the center, many seniors faced depression and isolation, and Senior Services implemented ways to engage seniors in a virtual format. Funding was received through the CARES Act to purchase electronic equipment to enable the department to continue programming through virtual platforms. This provided the opportunity for the department to interact daily with more seniors through social media and other communication platforms. Department staff assisted CRSMA with the distribution of food boxes to approximately 1000 seniors.

During the year, staff at the department dwindled from 5 full time staff to 2 as employees retired, resigned or were reassigned to other departments, leaving the director and an events coordinator to oversee programs. I would like to recognize Senior Services for taking the lead in making over 600 face coverings with the assistance of CATS and Clovis-Carver Library. Face coverings were distributed to City and Curry County personnel.

During the year, funding was also received through the CARES Act to purchase a new vehicle to assist Curry Resident Senior Meals Association (CRSMA) with the delivery of meals to homebound seniors.

The department was awarded $750,000.00 in grant funding through the Community Development Block Grant program, and $4.7 million in GO Bond funding through the New Mexico Aging Long-Term Services Department (NMALTSD) for the construction of a new senior center at Hillcrest Park. Construction is due to start later this summer.

The Senior Services Department continues to support and assist our growing senior population by adapting and refining activities and services for our community in new and innovative ways.

CLOVIS AREA TRANSIT SYSTEM

The Clovis Area Transit System, also known as CATS, is the only public transportation provider for the community, and the department rose to meet the challenges they faced in continuing services during the pandemic.

As with all transit systems across the nation, CATS was hit hard, dropping ridership numbers to 43,016 trips for the year from 67,356 in 2019. Their challenge was to find ways to keep both the public and drivers safe inside their buses. Staff adapted to comply with health measures and as more was learned about the virus. Some of their successes this past year were:

Receiving CARES Act funding to cover 100% of the administrative and operating costs between March 2020 and present. Through CARES Act funding CATS was able to purchase a UV sanitization unit, decontamination unit and AI Temperature Sensor.

Maintaining staff work status through work reassignments, telecommuting and funding to cover 100% of salaries.

Staff took advantage of all the virtual and online training that became available.

CATS ordered and received 3 new replacement buses.

CATS assisted the Senior Services with a successful 100% grant application for a pilot project to transport seniors to medical appointments in Portales and Clovis.

CATS assisted Curry Resident Senior Meals Association with the delivery of hot meals to homebound seniors averaging 100 stops per day. They assisted with the delivery of food boxes to CATS patrons.

CATS assisted with the delivery of goods to persons abiding by the “stay at home” order.

CATS applied for and were awarded 100% funding for the purchase of 2 new buses in 2021.

In FY 2020 CATS answered 32,410 phone calls, travelled 142,471 miles, logged 11,813 service hours, provided 48,352 trips, & collected $19,736 in fares (fares were suspended in April 2020).

CLOVIS-CARVER PUBLIC LIBRARY

The Clovis-Carver Public Library continues to face challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and library staff worked diligently in their duties at the library and in supporting the City as a whole. The facility was physically closed to the public for 2 months between March 17 and May 18, 2020, and during this time, library staff completed a full physical inventory of all collections, painted cubbies for the children’s collection, shifted collections, and assisted with deep cleaning measures. Several staff members were re-assigned to assist with painting the Roy Walker Recreation Center.

The Library formulated and implemented re-opening strategies to accommodate the public at the facility. Measures included plexiglass, returning books only in outside drop boxes, offering curbside pickup, limiting the number and time patrons were in the facility, and social distancing.

Upon reopening, foot traffic at the facility was slow and continued to be throughout the summer months. The Summer Reading Program (for children and adults) was organized virtually with some success - many of our usual patrons participated in our virtual program – but their total participation numbers were down compared to previous summers. Throughout the summer the Library continued to provide services to patrons who followed the city and state-mandated safety rules.

Throughout the summer months, several large collections including adult nonfiction, juvenile fiction and nonfiction and books that had little circulation over the past 5-8 years were weeded from the collection and given to the Friends of the Library group for their annual sales. The weeding that took place in the adult nonfiction area allowed the department to move the biography collection out of the room where it was housed to the end of nonfiction, with appropriate signage notifying patrons of the change.

The room that contained the biographies became the new Friends of the Library book sale room, which is accessible to all patrons throughout the day.

The fall brought back more patrons and a combination of in-person and remote programming. The adult services coordinator restarted the PageTurners book club, and the crochet and stitch groups, while the children’s services coordinator conducted once a week virtual story time, some of which had accompanying crafts that the children could pick up and complete.

Between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020, the public checked out 93,042 books and 10,170 digital materials.

PARKS & RECREATION

Like all other departments, Parks & Recreation adapted to the challenges of COVID-19 and the different levels of closures. Park maintenance staff continued their work throughout the 17 local parks, which included the replacement of dead trees with new ones. Fencing was installed around the parks facility at 500 Sycamore as a beautification project. Fencing was also constructed at AYSO soccer fields and at the west side of the Zoo.

The Roy Walker Recreation Center was closed from March 2020 throughout the remainder of the year. Undeterred, employees at the center, assisted sometimes by library staff, took advantage of the opportunity to repaint the entire facility, giving the facility a new and more modern look. The facility has recently reopened to the public.

The Clovis Municipal Zoo was closed from March throughout most of the year. Zoo staff worked hard to keep the animals entertained due to the absence of the public being able to visit them. Zoo staff worked on beautification projects at the facility. The facility has now reopened to the public.

Potter Pool and the Splash Park were closed in 2020. The Aquatic Center was open for lap swim when this activity was permitted by State Public Health Orders.

Parks & Recreation received capital outlay funding for playground improvements at Dennis Chavez Park, a lighting project at Potter Park, and parking lot improvements at AYSO, Dickenson Field, Guy Leeder, and Jim Hill. Agreements were received in December and construction of these projects are ongoing.

Parks & Recreation held their annual Trek for Trash following COVID safe practices in October. 111 tons of municipal solid waste were received during the cleanup.

Earlier this year we welcomed Russell Hooper as the new Parks & Recreation Director.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The City of Clovis was greatly concerned regarding the impact Public Orders had on local businesses. Staff applied for grant funding from the state and received $4.2 million which was used to assist area businesses impacted by the pandemic. Funding was also used to assist with rental or mortgage expenses, utilities, and childcare for those negatively impacted. The City of Clovis hired the Chamber of Commerce and the Eastern Plains Council of Governments to assist with recommendations regarding the disbursal of these funds, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their assistance.

COVID-19 taught us much about the strengths and challenges the City of Clovis faces on a daily basis. One lesson learned was the impact that leakage into Texas has on the City’s gross receipts tax. Under normal circumstances, area residents travel to Lubbock on a regular basis to shop and dine. During lockdown, area residents were unable to travel to Texas and Clovis saw for the first time the tremendous impact of people Shopping Clovis First for general merchandise items.

The Commission’s response to this was twofold. Firstly, we looked at ways to support existing retail and incentivize new retail in our area. We hired Retail Strategies, a national retail matchmaker, to assess the gaps in our retail portfolio and to work on the community’s behalf to bring those retailers to Clovis in an effort to stem the leakage of Clovis dollars to Texas.

Secondly, and working with the New Mexico Municipal League, and other economic development groups in the State of New Mexico, we received tremendous support in changing the Local Economic Development Act to allow incentivizing retail as a use for LEDA funds in communities with populations over 35,000. This work was spearheaded by Senator Woods and Representative Crowder at the state level, and it passed the legislature and becomes law on July 1, 2021.

In 2020 the City of Clovis renewed its economic development agreement with Clovis Industrial Development Corporation. The City’s Economic Incentive Board is about to undertake collaborative planning efforts to move our economic development program forward as we seek to diversify and strengthen our economic base. In 2020 the City of Clovis renewed its agreement with the Clovis MainStreet program to provide support for our downtown businesses and encourage downtown economic development.

As always, the City of Clovis has continued to support the mission of Cannon Air Force Base through our mutual agreements and activities. We are very grateful to the Airmen of Cannon Air Force Base who work tirelessly to protect our liberties and freedoms.

 

AIRPORT

In 2020 the Clovis Regional Airport was negatively impacted by the effects COVID-19 closures had on the aviation industry as a whole. Denver Air Connections has been providing a roundtrip service to Denver through an Essential Air Service Agreement with the US Department of Transportation. Enplanement numbers were severely impacted by the inability of people to travel.

Despite the challenges, the City of Clovis moved forward with projects at the Airport, including construction at the terminal building to accommodate TSA. TSA will begin operations at the Airport on June 1, 2021. Runway 12-30 and Apron Improvements in front of the terminal building were completed in January 2020.

Mr. James Harris joined the City of Clovis as Airport director in November 2020. He and his team are moving forward with programs to upgrade various areas of the Airport including Airport ramp and hangar lighting, self-service fuel system, Taxiway Alpha improvements, Precision Approach Path Indicator lighting and an airport equipment building.

BUILDING SAFETY

In 2020 Building Safety permitted a total of 76 single family residences, 14 multi-family units and 47 additions, 10 new commercial constructions, 16 commercial additions, and 33 alterations. They oversaw the demolition of 15 buildings and 9 buildings were secured.

Planning and Zoning processed 1 preliminary plat, 3 replats and 3 zone changes.

In 2020 Code Enforcement sent out 731 weed/grass letters, 188 public nuisance letters and tagged 69 vehicles.

Daron Roach joined the Building Safety team as their director in August 2020.

Recently the City of Clovis adopted an abandoned building ordinance which will expedite the City’s ability to address abandoned or failing structures in the community.

Metropolitan Redevelopment Area

During 2020 the City of Clovis continued its work with Consensus Planning regarding the preparation of the Metropolitan Redevelopment Areas known as MRAs, in areas to the east and west of the downtown area between the railroad tracks and Martin Luther King Boulevard to the west and Norris Street to the east. This plan will assist us as we move to improve the entryways, residential and commercial areas within the MRA. A meeting was held last evening to review the draft plan and is available for review on the City’s website.

Strategic Planning

Once the City began to open again the Commission came together with department directors to work on strategic planning to work on our direction as a city for the next five years. The areas identified included transportation and infrastructure, safe communities, economic development and beautification.

Mental Health Facility

I would like to thank Plains Regional Medical Center for their dedication and care for those impacted by COVID-19 over the past year. Health, and in particular mental health, has been an ongoing conversation for the City of Clovis. In 2021 the City of Clovis is partnering with Curry, DeBaca, Quay and Roosevelt counties as well as Fort Sumner and Portales, to conduct a feasibility study to ascertain the need for a mental health facility in our area.

Census

In 2020 the City of Clovis worked with many agencies on the 2020 Census to ensure an accurate count to enable Clovis to obtain the federal funding it needs for streets, healthcare and infrastructure. The following is the most recent available data. Currently, approximately 40,047 people live in 14,919 housing units in Clovis (Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI)). The median household income is $44,405. The annual poverty rate is 21.4% and the current unemployment rate is 5.7%.

Conclusion

On behalf of the Clovis city commission, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the City employees for their dedication and commitment in providing outstanding support to the citizens of Clovis over the past year.

Throughout this past year we have all experienced the demands and uncertainties of an international pandemic. Time and time again throughout the many twists and turns of the past twelve months, I have been extremely grateful for the resilient High Plains spirit of Clovis’ residents which has continued to shine through. May that spirit of unity, comfort, hospitality and hope continue to strengthen our efforts as we continue to look forward with hope and joy to the future.

 
 

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