City Commission OKs service rate hikes

By Jean Verlich: CNJ news editor

As expected, the Clovis City Commission voted Thursday to raise fees for library, inspections, animal control, wastewater and garbage services.

Commissioners accepted the hikes recommended by the Revenue Review Committee, except for wastewater fees —they voted to raise them 21.45 percent instead of the recommended 26 percent.

Effective April 1, wastewater fees will be $1.46 per drain per month, with a minimum of $7.30 a month.

The monthly charges were $1.20 per drain with a $6 minimum.
According to City Manager Joe Thomas, city code requires the Commission review revenue-generating fees every other year.

Wastewater and garbage fees generated the most discussion. Thomas said garbage fees have not increased since 1998.

However, wastewater fees were increased 20 percent in September 2005, which Commissioner Randal Crowder noted and proposed the lower rate.

Public Works Director Harry Wang said additional revenue is needed because wastewater operations have had deficits exceeding $300,000 the last two fiscal years.

Wang explained the additional funds for higher garbage fees will help pay for landfill equipment and additional space.

In other business, commissioners:

• Passed a resolution opposing the $459,000 settlement for the BNSF Railway Superfund site the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and New Mexico Office of Natural Resources has proposed be used for restoration of the Bottomless Lake State Park near Roswell. In the resolution, Commissioners asked the restoration project be in Curry County, preferably at Ingram Lake.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and New Mexico Office of Natural Resources turned down the city’s proposal of building a bird viewing platform at Ingram Lake, saying it failed to meet the criteria of habitat improvement and restoration.

• Annexed into city limits the second subdivision of Pheasant Run north of Wilhite Road between Prince and Norris streets.

• Heard Plains Regional Medical Center Administrator Hoyt Skabelund discuss the hospital’s fiscal health and strategies to improve medical care provided patients. Skabelund discussed the impact of the decline in surgical volume as a result of the new surgery center and the rising staff turnover, which peaked at 30 percent this past summer.

• Congratulated Joe and Darla Rhodes, owners of Joe’s Boot Shop and Country Junction, for winning the VIVA Award from the Association of Commerce and Industry in the for-profit category.
n Welcomed the new four-member environmental response team and heard a report that they have already cleaned up 20 properties.

• Appointed Commissioners Len Vohs and Lunell Winton as first and second alternate, respectively, for the Local Growth Management Committee that serves as a liaison with the Office of Economic Adjustment, the Department of Defense and the Air Force on the BRAC realignment.

• Heard Mayor David Lansford proclaim Sunday through Nov. 11 as Veterans Week. The annual Veterans Parade will begin at 10 a.m. Nov. 11.

Fee increases
• Per drain: $1.46 per month (currently $1.25)
• Minimum rate for sewer account per month: $7.30 per month (currently $6)
Effective: April 1, 2007

• Single family: $28.50 per unit per quarter (currently $25.50 per quarter)
• Multi-family: $20.56 per unit per quarter (currently $18.40 per quarter)
• Business: 12 percent increase with a minimum fee of $13.55 per month
Effective: April 1, 2007

• Appeal application process: $50 (currently there is no fee)
• Minimum fence permit: $20 (currently there is no fee)
Effective: Jan. 1, 2007

• To rent Clovis-Carver Public Library Ingram Room or North Annex: $20 per hour (currently $20 for four hours, $35 for more than four hours)
• Late books: 10¢ per day (currently 5¢ per day)
• Maximum fine per item: $5 (currently $2)
Effective: Jan. 1, 2007

Animal control
n Kennel fees: $15 (currently $11)
n Non-city residents: $6.50 per animal (currently non-city residents can bring in a single animal or multiple animals for $6.50 total)
n Callouts in the county: $30 (currently $20)
n Off duty callouts: $50
Effective: April 1, 2007