City approves bid for Hull Street overpass

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

The Clovis City Commission spent a little time Thursday discussing city crime rates, and almost none discussing the Hull Street Overpass.

After more than 16 months without the structure, and a bid $2.5 million less than expected, commissioners approved work with Hamon Contractors of Denver with no discussion after a brief summary of the bid from City Purchasing Agent David Boswell.

“They were very thorough in their research on this project,” Boswell said of Hamon and its $3.3 million bid to fix the overpass. The bridge was closed in June 2008 for safety reasons.

Hamon General Manager Thomas Evered said the company believes it can start work within 10 days, provided paperwork is finished.

Commissioners also gave quick approval to a $350,000 expenditure from tax advisory board funds to build a structure for air crew training at the Clovis Airport.

The money will go to Bosbeck LLC of Clovis, which would build a structure to lease to an un-named company that trains pilots. The company’s name was withheld do to a non-disclosure agreement.

Chase Gentry, executive director for the Clovis Industrial Development Corporation, has said the facility would bring in 70 to 80 fulltime jobs, with 40 four-week classes annually teaching 300-500 students.

Clovis Police Chief Steve Sanders closed out the meeting with an update on crime rates, including comparisons of October 2008 and October 2009 and year-to-date comparisons of each year.

Sanders reported an overall year-to-date crime drop of 6 percent, including a 44 percent drop in reports of robbery (down from 50 to 28) and 53 percent drop in reports of motor vehicle theft (down from 123 to 58).

Crimes seeing a rise in reports were aggravated assault (up to 197 from 187; a 5 percent jump) and burglary (up to 555 from 497; a 10 percent jump). Sanders said burglary was a “crime of opportunity,” and that 65 arrests have been made on burglaries — about half from patrol stops and half from investigation.

Sanders said a 9 percent drop in larceny (down to 563 reports from 620 in 2008) is due to businesses being more aggressive in stopping dine-and-dashes or gas skips.

In response to commission questions, Sanders said the department is “at wit’s end” in the case of recently bulldozed homes. He also said Sgt. Richard Denney, injured in a traffic accident, is in good spirits, should be out of the hospital within two weeks and his recovery time could be anywhere from six weeks to six months.