Public invited to task force meeting

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Officials are encouraging residents of Portales and Roosevelt County to let their voices be heard at a meeting of the Governor’s Task Force on “Our Communities, Our Future,” to be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the Portales City Hall.

Comprised of members from government and private sectors of New Mexico, the committee was founded two years ago by Gov. Bill Richardson, said Debi Lee, Portales city manager, who serves on the state-wide committee.

“I feel like it’s an honor to be on this committee,” said Lee.

Created under an executive order, the committee will focus on six critical issues that are of importance to New Mexico, said Lee.
Those issues include:

• Creating more walkable communities and more mobility choices.
• Providing greater housing opportunities for all New Mexicans.
• Enhancing the state’s environment and natural resources.
• Preserving critical lands.
• Providing leadership in the livable economy of the future.
•¶ Modernizing state land use laws.

Facilitated by Ken Hughes, the chief planner for state of New Mexico’s Department of Finance and Administration, the program will focus on public input, said Lee. The presentation will be interactive with the audience. The purpose, said Lee, is for residents to talk to the committee about what improvements they would like to see in Portales and Roosevelt County.

“We want the public to come, regular citizens, not just politicians,” said Lee. “We want citizens to participate to create results.”

Questions Lee says the group hopes to address will include:
• What do you value about your community?
• How can we create higher-quality places to live?
• How can we improve communities in ways that both preserve people’s values and create better jobs and economic opportunity?

• How might state policies help your community’s future?

“Please come, we need your input. It’s important to hear what Roosevelt County citizens think,” said Lee.

Another part of the program, will be a visual values exercise, said Lee. Pictures of Portales and other areas will be shown during the meeting. Participants will be asked to tell the committee if they like or dislike what is in the pictures, said Lee.

In talking with Mayor Orlando Ortega about the task force committee, he felt that it was important for the meeting to be held here in Portales. Applauding the efforts of the committee, Ortega felt that the meeting being held in Portales afforded committee members the chance to see first hand the issues affecting the area and solutions that could be beneficial, he said.

“We enjoy hosting the meeting. It brings leaders and important people to our community to see the growth,” said Ortega. “We like to showcase our community to these folks and this is a great opportunity.”