Lodger’s tax won’t be allotted for basketball tournament

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

Clovis City Commissioners have decided not to play ball with Gus Macker for 2007.
Commissioners declined a request for a $4,000 disbursement from Lodger’s Tax Funds to help with a Gus Macker basketball tournament scheduled for March 16-18 at Clovis Community College.

Lodger’s Tax money is awarded to promote events that would create business for area restaurants and hotels.

Tournament organizer John Duval said he planned promotion in media outlets for surrounding towns and would look for participation from Amarillo, Lubbock and Hobbs — cities that have no Gus Macker basketball tournament scheduled for 2007.
Duval’s goal would be to have a majority of teams be from out of town, and estimated 700 out-of-town participants based on 175 four-member teams.

“I have a goal of about 325 teams,” Duval said. “We have hit before, in the past, 357 teams (in 1999).”

Commissioner Fred Van Soelen pointed out that a Lodger’s Tax Fund distribution is not a “blank check.” People who receive disbursements must document that funds were spent appropriately and the respective ventures brought people into Clovis, he said.

Duval said he had no problem providing such information.

“We want to measure our level of success with a $4,000 investment,” Mayor David Lansford said.

Duval told commissioners the tournament would go on as scheduled without the disbursement. Lansford told Duval he hoped the tournament would be a success and that Duval could come back in a year and make another funding request with data from the tournament.

During the meeting’s public comment section, citizens Blake Prather and Frank Dottle addressed commissioners regarding the proposed Clovis Ethanol plant.

Prather gave each commissioner a packet of information on what he said is the expected pollution the 110-million-gallon-a-year plant would produce, and outlined the danger air pollution he said posed to nearby schools and residential neighborhoods.

Dottle later echoed Prather’s point about air pollution, saying, “I have an 18-month-old granddaughter who lives (300 yards from the proposed plant site). We’ll have to move.”

Prather also discussed the plant’s expected usage of 1 million gallons of wastewater per day. He said it would create an overall loss of water because wastewater wouldn’t be available for other functions and water sources would be used to compensate.

Prather thought it irresponsible to use water that way when the city is looking for long-term water solutions such as the Ute Water Project, which would run a pipeline from the Ute Reservoir to participating communities.

“We shouldn’t be asking for $400 million to build the pipeline,” Prather said, “when we’re willing to give away (so much) of our water for 50 jobs.”

Clovis Ethanol Manager Kirk Johnson said many of the numbers floating around regarding pollutants are not entirely accurate. He said the New Mexico Environmental Department will be hosting an informational meeting for the public scheduled from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Bella Vista Elementary.

In other business at the meeting:
— A memorandum of agreement was amended for the Local Growth Management Committee and Local Growth Management Organization regarding growth issues that may arise from Cannon Air Force Base’s upcoming Special Operations mission.

The organizations are made up of eight members — two each from Clovis, Portales, and Curry and Roosevelt counties. Under the amendment, six members would be required for a quorum, and five votes would be required to pass any measure.

Under previous terms, Lansford said a quorum would only require five of eight members, and only three of those members would be needed to pass measures. Lansford said it was better to have rules that required “consensus building” regarding the communities and the base.

— Commissioners approved a resolution in favor of the Northeast New Mexico Regional Water Plan, with specific notes regarding Clovis and the city’s participation in the Ute Water Project.

“Because it is such a diverse region and is so geographically huge,” Lansford said, “there is an obvious mix of interests. Even though the regional water plan is a good working document, there are still a couple of concerns with it.”

Lansford’s concerns were the same as those discussed at Wednesday’s Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority meeting in Portales — the possibility of Harding County creating a dam on Ute Creek, mechanisms for balancing supply and demand and raising the minimum pool level in the Ute Reservoir.

— Commissioners approved an ordinance authorizing the issuance and sale of bonds to receive $15.3 million for the ARES Corp. biodiesel plant being built in the Clovis Industrial Development Park. The plant is expected to produce 15 million gallons of product per year, while providing 10 local jobs and using 15,000 gallons of water per day.