Letter-writing campaign aimed at re-opening IRS, state taxation offices

By Jack King: CNJ STAFF WRITER

Curry County commissioners are sending letters to state and federal legislative representatives protesting the closing of federal Internal Revenue Service and state Taxation and Revenue offices in Clovis.

Letters will go to U.S. Sens. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., and Pete Domenici, R-N.M., U.S. Rep. Tom Udall, D-Santa Fe, as well as all local state senators and representatives, they said Tuesday.

IRS spokesman Rafael Tulino said Tuesday the Clovis office was closed April 16. The reasons for the closing were “not something I can discuss.” He said late Tuesday afternoon the closure is temporary.

“The IRS does not want to cut services; it’s just a matter of time until we find personnel to re-open,” Tulino said.

Commissioner Tim Ashley, whose concrete company operates a number of trucks, said he tried to turn in federal highway use forms at the Clovis IRS office.

“Closing the local office inconveniences those like me who operate fleets of trucks, as well as other people who have to deal with the tax offices on a regular basis. The only alternatives now are to go to Lubbock, Amarillo or Roswell, or to do the forms on-line, but not everyone has a computer,” he said.

In other business, county grants coordinator Twyla Rutter-Wooley reported the state Department of Health has told her it will provide $22,216 to keep the Curry County van program open through the upcoming fiscal year.

The program, which provides rides for mothers and their children who don’t have transportation, is threatened by the combination of funding cuts and program changes in the Health Department, which previously funded the program through the county’s Mother and Child Health and Wellness councils.

Rutter-Wooley said the allocation is approximately $7,800 less than she had asked for to help maintain the program and will mean cutting funding for the program’s van driver. However, she will be able to maintain the service by slightly cutting the driver’s hours, she said.

The commission also voted to support a resolution from the area DWI Grants Council that opposes a Richardson administration proposal to transfer $1.8 million of DWI program funds to other programs and agencies, including the state administrative office of the courts in fiscal year 2005. The resolution says the commission supports restoration of local DWI funds to county programs.

Detention Center Administrator Don Burdine said, as of Monday, the detention center had custody of 336 prisoners, with 191 prisoners in the detention center, 96 inmates in Dickens County, Texas, 25 in Parmer County and 24 in other forms of custody.