Prices could rise at Oasis State Park

Mike Linn

State officials are proposing price increases at Oasis State Park, and all state parks in New Mexico, to help supplement low admissions across the state due to drought conditions.
Oasis State Park Director Jim Whary briefed the Portales City Council at Tuesday’s meeting about the proposed changes, claiming the state is in the hole $860,000 since 2000.
The changes include $1 increases for day use permits from $4 to $5 per vehicle; annual passes per vehicle would increase to $30 from $20 this year, and additional $5 increases are slated for 2005 and 2006.
The proposed changes would take effect May 1.
While state parks statewide are seeing a decline in attendance, Whary said the annual attendance at Oasis has experienced a steady increase, from 24,000 annually in the mid-90s to roughly 40,000 in 2003, Whary said.
“We’re getting to be known as the best little secret around,” Whary said.
State officials also hope to reinstate annual camping passes for state and out-of-state residents.
City council member Dianne Parker said Oasis looked very good the last time she visited and encouraged others to tour the grounds.

Also at the meeting:
l The council presented awards of excellence for two city employees who will retire at the end of February.
Ralph W. Pellicott, street department crew chief, will retire after 25 years of service.
“It’s been a long road to hoe,” Pellicott said. “The city has been good to me and I’ve been good to the city.”
Portales Street Superintendent Joe Parie said Pellicott was one of the friendliest employees.
“He’s always been a very prompt and professional and dependable employee,” Parie said.
Reba Robertson, the city’s treasurer, will also retire at the end of February.
“She has done an outstanding job,” said city manager Debi Lee, whose been working with Robertson on the city’s budget.

l The council authorized an approval to execute a grant agreement contingent on a joint powers agreement with Roosevelt County for emergency planning.
Terminology in the application reads the funds go to the county, which uses the city for emergency planning as an in-kind service. The grant is for roughly $20,750 from the state. The city must match the funds, making the total amount approximately $41,500.