Commissioners hold last study session on districts

Kevin Wilson

With six weeks of minimal feedback, and an empty meeting room Thursday evening, Clovis city commissioners reached a conclusion that residents would be fine with whatever they did regarding redrawing city commission districts for the next decade.

Six weeks after Research and Polling of Albuquerque presented the commission with four plans for new districts, the commission held a final study session prior to its upcoming vote on the plans.

The vote is set for the commission’s next meeting, scheduled for 5:15 p.m. Thursday at the library.

The commission must redraw commission districts every 10 years, in line with the national Census, and do so by mid-November to have them take effect for the March 2012 municipal elections.

The goal is to draw the districts with four reasonably even populations — Michael Sharp of Research and Polling said 5 percent deviation was generally accepted — and to preserve demographics of each district.

Commissioners said they’d had little comment from residents regarding redistricting. City Manager Joe Thomas said the poster-sized printouts of each plan have been up at the city offices since the Aug. 18 meeting when Research and Polling first brought them in. During that time, only one resident asked questions, Thomas said, and that resident had no follow-up questions after he found his residence on each printout.

District 1 Commissioner Juan Garza asked Thomas if the plans could be placed at the library for the remaining week before the commission meeting, since more people go to the library. Thomas said that wouldn’t be a problem.

When asked following the 10-minute study session, the commissioners leaned towards Plans A and B, the two plans that do not move current commissioners into new districts.

District 1 Commissioner Juan Garza said he has spoken with fellow District 1 Commissioner Randy Crowder about the plans. While Garza said neither of them particularly like any of the plans, he said they’re less inclined to support Plan B because it splits Colonial Park between Districts 1 and 4.

Under either Plan C or Plan D, Commissioner Len Vohs (up for re-election in 2014) would move from District 2 to District 1.

Additionally under Plan D, Crowder (up for re-election in 2012) and Garza (up for re-election in 2014) would move from District 1 to District 4, and Commissioner Chris Bryant (up for re-election in 2012) moves from District 4 to District 1.

A supplemental report to the Clovis City Commission’s meeting Thursday at the north annex of the Clovis-Carver Public Library.

Commissioners Randy Crowder and Dan Stoddard were not in attendance.

• Mayor Gayla Brumfield announced that the “End of an Era” golf tournament at the Clovis Municipal Golf Course, scheduled for Oct. 15, was moved to Oct. 29 due to a scheduling conflict.

• The commission created a charter review committee. A review is required every 10 years, with the last review taking place in 2003.

City Attorney David Richards said the commission could either look at specific items and place them as questions for the upcoming election, conduct a partial review and not fulfill the requirements or do a full review and create a committee.

The committee includes Van Soelen and Bobby Sandoval, who asked the item be placed on the agenda. Brumfield will also serve as a member of the committee, and each commissioner can appoint one citizen to serve on the committee. The citizen does not have to be a member of that commissioner’s district, Richards said.

The committee, Richards said, must hold at least one public hearing.

• Brian Daly of New Mexico American Water, the city’s water supplier, said water usage was 69 percent of the utility’s daily pumping capacity thanks to relatively cool temperatures.

• The commission, by a 5-1 vote, upheld a city planning and zoning recommendation to allow a rezoning of a residential single-family district on the 1500 block of Hickory Street to a multi-family district, allowing apartments to be built.

Residents Jim Barnard and Barney Jaramillo, who live two houses from each other on Hickory, said the block doesn’t like the possible change.

“I doubt you could find anybody who stands by this change, if you ask them,” Barnard said.

Van Soelen said he was reluctant to reverse the planning and zoning commission’s 5-0 vote unless there was a specific danger, and that a property owner should be able to do what they want with their own property.

Fidel Madrid cast the dissenting vote.

• A resolution was approved to give preliminary plat approved to the Liles Estates. Van Soelen pulled the item off the commission’s consent agenda in order to abstain from what was a 5-0 vote. Kolby Liles had purchased the land from one of his relatives.

• The city approved a $3,073 payment to the Eastern Plains Council of Government for administrative services.

• In separate hearings, a beer and wine license was approved for the Cajun Cowboy restaurant on Mabry Drive and a liquor license transfer was approved from the now-closed Webb’s Watering Hole to the Allsup’s Convenience Store at 1020 Mitchell Street.

• The commission approved letting Clovis Municipal Schools use Evans Field north of James Bickley Elementary when it begins construction on a new school in August or September of 2012.

The acquisition, Parks and Recreation Director Bill Bizzell said, would allow the school to move playground facilities to the park. In exchange, the city would gain usage of the field adjacent to Lockwood Elementary.