City commission considers legislative priorities

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

The Clovis City Commission had some doubts on how many of their legislative priorities could actually get tackled with state budget crunches expected to last through 2010.

But at least, commissioners said, there’s been enough progress the 2010 priority list differs from the 2009 list.

With two of its top priorities from last year — the Hull Street Overpass and wastewater plant upgrades — remedied through state and federal dollars, the city’s ongoing wellness center project moved to the top of the list.

In a move similar to lists past.

The commission combined requested street repairs for Martin Luther King Boulevard and Norris Street into a general “street repair” priority. That was put second on the list.

Rounding out the list were a dispatch communication center for first responders, the city’s effluent reuse water project and upgrades to the city’s animal shelter.

Commissioner Fred Van Soelen said apart from removing addressed priorities, his list went unchanged from last year. He said in talking to state officials, showing a consistency with projects increases the likelihood they’ll be funded.

“We need to ask to get the things finished that we started,” Van Soelen said.

It was an approach echoed by Mayor Gayla Brumfield.

Even though a budget crunch that wiped out many 2009 capital outlay requests could do the same in 2010, Brumfield said she’s an “eternal optimist” and the commission shouldn’t entertain a suggestion to not send priorities — even if there’s little chance they’ll be funded.

Commissioner Juan Garza said a soccer field component on the wellness center was important because having soccer fields could be a revenue source, enabling the city to host state soccer tournaments. Close behind, he added, street improvements were pivotal.

“We have a lot of development coming up,” Garza said, “and traffic is going to be crucial.”