Parker says water and civic pride city’s top issues

Editor’s note: The following is the first 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.

Incumbent Dianne Parker is running for re-election in Ward D and will be facing Eddy Hiner and Jim Lee.

1. In your view, what is the most pressing issue the Portales City Council is facing?

Water is the first and foremost issue our community is currently facing for our future. It is vital and very important that we continue to look at all avenues on water issues for the years to come. Talking on more current issues I would have to say that it would the cleanliness of our small community.

We live in a wonderful community and have the solid foundation of what small town America is all about. We have to educate our children and all citizens of our city to keep our community clean. First impressions are very important and taking pride in what we have is a goal that I will continue to achieve.

Our downtown has been revitalized along with major renovations to some of our historic landmarks. Our vision is to have clean safe neighborhoods, schools, parks and community, and improve the quality of life for all our residents.

2. What is your philosophy on economic development for Portales?

Economic Development is very important for the future of our community. We must allow our community to grow but in a fashion that we can control. Over the past years we have had new businesses rising up in Portales, many new faces and ideas coming into our community. A slow steady growth is a good solid growth.

Our economy is solid and very positive. In an effort to clean up our community by tearing down old abandoned buildings, cleaning up old empty lots will allow new businesses to move in and this has been very exciting for our community. We want to grow but yet keep that small town feeling with everything that larger communities have to offer.

3. Should we continue to pursue the Ute Water Project? Why or why not?

The Ute Water Project is a project that the City Council, the City Staff and others have spent many dollars, hours and efforts in researching. It is an effort that we need to look at carefully and realize that time is of the essence and the water issue has become very critical.

The damage of no water in the future would be devastating to our communities and our state and have a big effect on our growing economy.

Ute Water Project is a project that we have worked on very aggressively and currently it is the most efficient and most effective project for us. The cost would be funded between our federal, state and local governments. The increase in the cost would be gradual to the consumer but with reassurance of the continued water supply.

4. With the solid waste contract with Clovis set to expire in three years, should the city reopen its own landfill? What other measures should play a part in exploring this problem?

Our current situation of hauling our trash 20 miles away to Clovis has worked for our community. When our landfill was closed it was mandated by our federal government. To reopen it at this time would not be cost effective to our city. There are many decisions to make when doing something of this magnitude, such as location, meeting all the requirements, regulations and the bottom line, cost to the consumer.

With all the discussions and decisions the most important questions everyone would ask, “how much would it cost me.” In the meantime, we must train ourselves and members of this community to use our convenience center instead of dumping our trash in the alleys, on the street and in the county.

5. How should the city go about addressing housing needs?

Recently the city held a Housing Fair and it was made very evident that new affordable housing is needed in our community. The current council has recently met with different home builders and met with the Housing Authority on working together in making this possible. With Eastern New Mexico University located in our community, rentals are very sparse therefore if anyone else is interested in moving into our community there is no place for them to rent or buy.

Our city has been given the opportunity to become involved in a project of building 100 new homes. It would be a win, win situation for our community. Many citizens would be given the opportunity to purchase their first home at an affordable price. It would create jobs for our local contractors and it would be a great asset to our community.