Officials approve sewer project

By Jean Verlich: CNJ news editor

The Clovis City Commission approved a stormsewer project Tuesday designed to keep a busy section of Prince Street from resembling a lake when it rains.

The estimated cost of the project that would pipe the rain runoff underground along Prince north of 21st Street in the area of Triangle Ace Hardware is $410,000.

The project is being scheduled to be completed before New Mexico Department of Transportation resurfaces Prince between Llano Estacado Boulevard and 21st in late June or early July.

Clovis Public Works Director Harry Wang said the “necessity has been there for years” for the drainage project. Doing it before the resurfacing is an “opportunity to have the problem taken care of,” Wang said. Otherwise water accumulation could damage the new surface, according to Wang.

The underground drainage system from 21st will be extended 800 feet north along the west curb line on Prince.

Funding for the project will come from a portion of the gross receipts tax the city receives earmarked for drainage-related issues.

Bid opening for the state’s resurfacing project is set for Friday.

Commissioners also approved an emergency budget change of $106,148 to upgrade traffic control equipment related to the resurfacing project.

The voting preceded a Commission strategic planning meeting in which commissioners heard the following reports:

• Finance director Lee Ann Melancon described cost-saving measures implemented by the finance department that included $4,000 in annual printing costs and $900 a month with reduced bill mailing fees using a third-party system. The department accepts credit card payments and electronic bid solicitation and submission.

• Clovis Deputy Police Chief Dan Blair proposed consideration of department enhancements that included adding 25 staff positions, eight of which would be patrol officers and two would be uniformed sergeants; a regional communications center; in-car camera recording system; new firearms range and a new animal control complex.

• Fire Chief Ray Westerman gave an overview of the fire department’s operation, noting adequacy of current facilities and number of firefighters. He said he would like to increase the number of building inspectors for a more aggressive prevention and inspection program.