Editor’s note: The following is one part in a question and answer series of candidates running in the municipal election on March 7. Candidates are asked questions regarding the city’s future.
Eddie Hiner will be running for election in Ward D. He will face Jim Lee and incumbent Dianne Parker for the Ward D position.
1. In your view, what is the most pressing issue facing the city council?
I have not attended any council meetings. Therefore, at this time, I do not know what is on the agenda.
2. What is your philosophy on economic development for Portales?
Portales needs all the diversified business we can get. Unfortunately, Portales is a small community that cannot support many small businesses. To start a new business, it takes a large investment with a slow payback, long hours and lots of red tape.
3. Should we continue to pursue the Ute Water Project? Why or why not?
Of course. Our city politicians have been using this issue to campaign on since 1963 (that is just 43 years) and if it were approved today, it would take another 10 years for Ute water to come out of city taps and no one would be able to afford the water.
Perhaps we should look for another source, like the Santa Rosa Basin that is under us and contains brackish water. Perhaps, put in a plant to purify this water. This would also create local jobs and help the Portales community.
4. With the solid waste contract with Clovis set to expire in three years, should the city reopen its landfill? What other measures should play a part in exploring this problem?
We should leave it with Clovis, no matter how high their rates may go, and if Clovis cancels our contract, then maybe we could send our waste to Logan, or maybe Arizona — they have lots of empty space. Portales residents can always afford to buy new equipment that quickly wears out hauling our waste elsewhere, plus all the man hours wasted hauling it there. If it gets too expensive, all we have to do is double or triple our garbage rates to pay for it (or whatever it takes).
If Portales had its own solid waste facility, we would have to hire employees to operate it, and it might help stimulate the economy.
5. How should the city go about addressing housing needs?
Having enough housing is not the problem. The problem is that people cannot afford the existing housing in Portales. With the inflated costs of new construction, how could they afford that? With the increase in utilities (gas, electricity, etc.) and with the property owners’ costs also increasing (insurances, taxes, maintenance, etc.), people that rent are caught in the middle. There are times when people have to make a decision — eat or have a place to live — and there is not much help coming from Housing and Urban Development or from any other government agencies.