Courtesty photo Charles Guthals is a District 5 County Commission candidate.
Editor’s note: The Clovis News Journal asked District 5 Curry County Commission candidates to answer the following questions in 300 words or less. The answers were edited for spelling and style. The primary is June 3.
Charles H. Guthals
Party affiliation: Republican
Occupation: Business owner.
Previously elected offices: CCC Board of Trustees, Clovis Municipal Schools Board of Education.
What is your long-term vision for the county? And how will you plan for that?
My long-term vision for Curry County includes actively seeking agriculture-related industries. Along with ag-related industry, we need to be very aware of their water needs since water is one of our most precious commodities. I would prefer to see growth in the county at a slow, steady pace rather than a booming pace. Too fast of a growth rate could bring related problems, not the least of which could limit our capacity to maintain our infrastructure and seriously deplete our water supply.
I believe we need to work more closely with our city commission and our Clovis Industrial Development Corp. in searching for new industry for our area because in so doing we avoid costly duplication in the search process.
Are you in favor of zoning or creating an ordinance to clean up the county?
As a community we need to put our best foot forward in this regard. I believe this is even more critical when you consider Clovis is the gateway to the west-central part of New Mexico. So, that first impression is important not only for our city but also the state. I also believe that we need to pay particular attention to our entry roads since that is the only area some visitors see and that is how they make their opinion of Clovis. As I previously stated at a candidate forum, if there are existing zoning regulations or ordinances on the books governing weed control, trash removal or fence building to block from view such offenses, we need only to enforce those rules rather than enact new rules that may or may not be enforced.
What do think the county should do to address water conservation?
We can all agree that without water our community and county cannot exist. As we see our water table lowering on an annual basis, a solution to the potential crisis needs to come sooner rather than later. The city is currently looking at cleaning sewer effluent to within one class of potable water for use in watering parks, athletic fields and other public areas. When implemented, this would generate over 3 million gallons of water a day. The Ute pipeline is still in the offering as water for use in irrigation.
Still another possibility for water is to drill deeper than our current supply and bring that water to the surface. That source would require desalination before the water could be used, but the technology for desalination is available. In our nursery, we are doing more and more xeriscaping, which reduces water consumption but we dare not forget the importance of plants in our world since trees and shrubs are nature’s air cleaners and a small lawn of 2,500 square-feet produces enough oxygen for a family of four.
What do you consider the county’s greatest need today? And how should we resolve this issue?
Probably our greatest need in the immediate future is to finish the special events center. Nothing I can think of in the recent past has generated as many comments pro and con as the event center. Whether you were for it or against it, the fact remains it’s about to become a reality and now we must join hands in a spirit of unity and bring events to Clovis to help maintain their new facility. We’re an agricultural community in a rural area of the state, so to my way of thinking agricultural-related events should top the list as show possibilities. Things like equipment expos, special cattle shows and equestrian events would be naturals as possible uses for the new center.
What is your stance on alcohol sales at the Curry County Special Events Center?
It would be difficult for someone to convince me that absolutely no alcohol has ever been consumed at any event at the Curry County Fairgrounds. That being a given, I would probably be in favor of alcohol sales in the new special events center, not alone for the revenue stream it would generate, but for better control on how much is consumed and by whom.
What can county commissioners do to avoid any more‚ “unaccounted for funds,” in light of the money missing from the 2007 county fair?
I’m sure the current commission and county manager are in the process of instituting new policies and guidelines for the handling of funds derived from events held in the name of Curry County. At a minimum, when receipts are collected for events, these funds should be counted in private immediately after the event by at least two people. The total amount must be agreed upon by both parties and the money placed in a locked bank bag and taken immediately to a local bank night deposit. When signing checks for the county, a minimum of two signatures should be required at all times. I’m not sure anyone can be completely sure that no one will ever abscond with public funds, but we as commissioners and county manager must use every means at our disposal to see that the opportunity does not present itself in the future.