Committee mulls growth planner duties

The Local Growth Management Committee plans to hire a new regional growth planner. What's undecided is how much will be tasked to the planner when a contract is drawn up.

Members of the LGMO met Tuesday morning at the Curry County Courthouse to discuss where to go since previous planner Rick Draker terminated his contract as of Monday.

The organization was created to bring together entities affected by growth at Cannon Air Force Base, with representation from Curry and Roosevelt counties and the cities of Clovis and Portales.

The organization, which works on a contract with the Department of Defense's Office of Economic Adjustment, is working with grant monies of $141,563.

The money paid for 30 tasks in 10 areas, including administrative, education, economic development and housing tasks. Draker was not paid a base salary, but billed the LGMO for those individual tasks through R.M. Draker and Associates.

"We were trying to see how much of that we could absorb ourselves (before) going out for another contract," Clovis Community Development Director Claire Burroughes said. "We've been doing this since 2007; we have a good understanding of what's needed."

Ideally, the next planner would focus largely on joint land use tasks, Burroughes said.

The OEA will review the scope of work for a new planner, and could increase or decrease the grant money issued following an evaluation.

Some of the duties local entities discussed absorbing include:

  • Clerical and administrative work, billed at $12,000 annually. Burroughes said local entities could share such tasks.
  • Monitoring of housing privatization at Cannon Air Force Base, billed at $3,000. Col. David Piech, 27th Special Operations Mission Support Group commander, said information about privatized housing at Cannon shouldn't change. Plans to put in 1,038 new homes at the base, using a variety of contractors supervised by Balfour Beatty, won't change, Piech said.

Piech did note that when work starts in late summer, materials could be delivered through the alternate "Portales gate" off of N.M. 467 to the tune of 600 to 900 vehicles daily.

"We've even talked about having our people (who live in Portales) use the main gate (off of 60/84)," Piech said.

  • Health forums billed at $5,500. The Eastern Plains Council of Government handles many of those tasks already, and Economic and Community Development Planner Ray Mondragon said a health report from EPCOG was coming soon.
  • Right Start meetings, which are an introduction to new personnel at the base, are being handled by the mission support group.

Piech said another series of meetings has been created for military spouses, since much of the meeting given to personnel is of no relevance to non-personnel. The last spouse Right Start meeting had 17 attendees, Piech said. There are currently two scheduled each month, though the meetings might be scaled back to once monthly when incoming personnel drops off in the fall and winter months.

Other duties could also be absorbed through information attained in June through what members referred to as the ICEMAP. The ICEMAP, an acronym for Installation Complex Encroachment Management Action Plan, is an analysis for encroachment data to aid in recommendations to sustain compatible mission and community growth, according to the Air Force's website. The goal of an ICEMAP is to arrive at solutions "beneficial to all stakeholders."

In other business at the meeting:

  • The committee reorganized for its first meeting since former Clovis Mayor and Chair Gayla Brumfield's service ended. Curry County Commissioner Caleb Chandler was elected as chair, and Portales Mayor Sharon King was elected vice chair.
  • Piech reported seven military projects would be awarded this summer with contract amounts exceeding $150 million — including a training facility at the Melrose Air Force Range focusing on improvised explosive devices.
  • A housing forum is set for 7:30 a.m. June 28 at the Campus Union Ballroom of Eastern New Mexico. Capital Projects Manager Susan Baysinger gave information about the forum, and received suggestions on who to invite to the forum. Piech suggested Balfour Beatty, which is overseeing the upcoming housing privatization project. Clovis City Commissioner Sandra Taylor-Sawyer suggested adding lenders, since they play a role in getting projects off the ground.
  • Roosevelt County Manager Charlene Webb brought up recommendations for the joint land use partnership committee.

The nine-member committee, as suggested by Hardin, would include three members each from Roosevelt and Curry counties, one Clovis resident, one Portales resident and an at-large member chosen by the eight others.

"We felt the land use portion was the most critical and affected the counties more so," Webb said.

Clovis City Commissioner Sandra Taylor-Sawyer suggested Eastern Plains Council of Governments should have a representative to serve as the ninth member. However, Webb and EPCOG staff noted that the council has ex-officio presence already.

Committee members approved Webb's recommendation.

  • The next meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. June 26 at the Yam Theatre in Portales.

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