City weighs in on water issues

By Jean Verlich: CNJ News Editor

Water was at the top of the Clovis City Commission agenda at Thursday’s meeting, as commissioners took action on three water-related issues:

• Private landowners were offered $13,560 and a “compromise” to construct a drainage channel on their property.

• A motion was approved to file an intervention opposing a proposed New Mexico-American Water Co. rate increase.

• A bid for $382,890 from K Barnett and Sons was accepted to move forward on the storm sewer improvement on North Prince Street. The project is expected to be completed in the next month so that the New Mexico Department of Transportation can begin road resurfacing.

Mayor Pro Tem Randal Crowder developed a 10-point offer to Daniel Griego of 1317 Lea St. that would allow the city to purchase a 20-foot-wide strip along the north boundary of his property for a drainage channel and grant an easement of an additional 10-foot strip. If an alternative draining method is developed in the future, the Griegos would be able to use the 20-foot-wide property as an alley and the easement would terminate.

Crowder explained the lengthy research he did to develop the plan. The Griegos had wanted the city to install an underground closed pipe, but Crowder had reservations because he felt the idea was unusual and he was concerned about the quality of water and sediment that would be in the pipe.
The Griegos have until July 20 to accept the offer. If it is not accepted, the city will move forward to condemn the 30-foot strip of land in order to construct the drainage channel.

Commissioners Isidro Garcia and Robert Sandoval voted against the city making the offer.

City Attorney David Richards requested the city file an intervention to protest a rate increase request by New Mexico-American Water. As the city has done in previous rate cases, it would join with Clovis Municipal Schools in the action.

Don Clifton, city budget and internal operations director, estimated the proposed water rate increase would cost the city an additional $150,000 to $200,000 annually.

Richards said he expects the Public Regulatory Commission to establish a schedule soon, with the intervention filing cut-off date likely to be in mid-August and a hearing in October, with a final determination made in early 2007.

Mayor David Lansford told commissioners the storm sewer drainage and road improvements to North Prince Street were a top priority for the city, and he pressed Public Works Director Harry Wang for a commitment for having the work completed. Wang said he expected the city and state projects to be completed by the end of August.

The city will extend an underground drainage system about 830 feet north of 21st Street along the west curb of Prince Street. The state resurfacing from 21st to Llano Estacado Boulevard will be done at night for the least inconvenience to traffic.

Commissioners also voted to acquire design and construction costs for new administration buildings at Play, Inc. at 1700 East 7th Street.

Commissioner Lunell Winton proposed the plan, which commissioners discussed and decided to roll into development of a new Wellness Center.