First beer and wine license sought

By Tony Parra

The first beer and wine license for the City of Portales needs only approval from the New Mexico Alcohol and Gaming Commission to be granted.
Mayor Orlando Ortega and city councilors held a public hearing in regards to the beer and wine license during Tuesday night’s city meeting. There was no opposition from community members to Pizza Hut’s request.
In a related move at Tuesday’s city council meeting, councilors also approved the transfer of ownership of a liquor license from Pizza Hut to the Allsup’s Convenience Store at 1032 W. Second St.
“We sold them the liquor license,” Dan Booth, Pizza Hut District Manager, said. “With minimal beer sales we don’t require a liquor license, we require a beer and wine license.”
Pizza Hut’s request is the first beer and wine license request which has come before the city council since Portales residents approved the licenses during a special election in September. The measure passed with 374 votes for and 338 votes against.
The applications will be sent with Ortega’s signature to the New Mexico Alcohol and Gaming Commission for approval.
In other business at the meeting:
• City councilors approved the interim budget with a projection of $6.574 million in expenditures for the 2005-06 fiscal year. The general fund has $547,909 in reserve and City of Portales is projected to have an ending balance of $102,700 to go with it to push the total ending cash balance for the 2005-06 fiscal year at $650,609.
• Ortega also requested an ordinance be placed on the agenda for the next city meeting on June 7 in regards to the salary of the municipal judge, Fred Arnold.
Arnold requested the salary of the municipal judge be increased from $15,500 to $31,000 a year. However, the finance committee requested the salary be pushed up to $20,000 instead of $31,000.
Arnold said he had initially requested an increase four years ago and said city officials would grant it, but he never got it. D.K. Shafer, a city councilor acknowledged the city never went through with the request.
• Councilors approved the renewal of the contract for the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce. The city pays $10,000 a year to the chamber for the work done by chamber employees.
The chamber officials greet tourists and welcome new business owners. Chamber employees also help put on the annual Ag Expo, along with July 4th and Heritage Days events in Portales.
Kim Huffman, Community Development Director and Executive Director of the Chamber, said there have been more visitors to the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce since the employees moved in to the new building on the downtown square.