Community encouraged to attend informal lunch with city officials

Argen Duncan

Portales residents have a chance to get answers to their questions about local issues with a free informal lunch this week.

The Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Sharon King are hosting a “Chat with City Officials” at an open chamber lunch to present information and allow attendees to ask questions. Taco Box is providing chicken fajitas.

The event is open to the public.

“Even if they don’t particularly have questions, I think things will come up that they will find interesting, and we’d like for them to come out,” King said.

During her campaign, King said, she wanted to improve communication between residents and the government, and a Chamber board member suggested such a luncheon at a recent meeting. She has asked City Manager Tom Howell, as many city councilors as are available and Cannon Air Force Base representative Maj. Mae-Li Allison to attend.

Another Cannon representative may come as well, King said.

King plans for Cannon representatives to talk about housing, the number of personnel expected at the base and so forth. She wants to let people know the status of the Ute Water Project and the standing of the city budget as well.

“I’m sure other folks will have things they want to bring up, and we’ll be ready to answer them,” King said.

After the planned informal talks, the floor is to open for questions.

City Councilor Oscar Robinson, who plans to attend, said every person in every council ward should come. He said he receives calls about trash around the city and needs to find out what’s being done about it.

Tom Martin, Taco Box owner and chamber board member, said it was more convenient for him to provide lunch than to ask people to bring their own so there’s a built-in excuse not to come. He also said all chamber members needed to attend board meetings like the open lunch so they could learn more about current events.

King said if the interest exists, the informal meetings would happen regularly.

“Since this is the first one we’ve done, we’ll just see how well it’s received and how well it’s attended,” she said.

King prefers that people RSVP so organizers know how much food to have, but she said it’s not required.

— PNT Staff Writer Jared Tucker contributed to this story.