Gross receipts tax election polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today

Kevin Wilson

Today is election day for an ordinance that would increase Clovis’ gross receipts tax to pay for the city’s share of the Ute Water Project.

Voting runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Ordinance 1953-2011 would impose a .25 percent gross receipts tax increase (25 cents per $100 spent on taxable items), for 10 years, to be dedicated only to the Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority for “development, planning, financing, construction, operation and payment of bonds for the Ute Reservoir Pipeline Project.”

If voters approve the ordinance, Clovis’ gross receipts tax rate, effective Jan. 1, 2012, would be 7.8125 percent. The tax would provide about $1.5 million annually to help pay for a $13 million portion of the city’s financial obligation for the $500 million Ute Water Project. The city’s total obligation is $36 million, with the remainder made up by water sales.

The Clovis City Commission passed the ordinance by a 7-1 vote in a Feb. 3 commission meeting. It was put to the ballot when the High Plains Patriots citizen group acquired petition signatures from Clovis residents in excess of 20 percent of the total voters in the previous municipal election.

If the ballot measure is defeated, the city commission would not be able to propose a future imposition of any tax increment, for any reason, until May 3, 2012.

Mayor Gayla Brumfield said if the measure is defeated, the commission will have to find a way to fund the project, whether it is through property taxes or franchise fees with utility companies. She said it isn’t a threat, but is a choice of how a necessary project is funded.

“The Clovis City Commission will not give up on this project,” Brumfield said at a Monday press conference about the election. “It is critical, and we believe in it.”

Opponents have touted a plan posted on the High Plains Patriots website that would rededicate taxes to pay for the project without a need for a gross receipts tax increase. Brumfield said that plan would leave the city unprepared for upcoming expenses in infrastructure.

City Clerk LeighAnn Melancon said at the conclusion of early voting on Friday, the city had 380 early voters and 23 votes by mail. There are about 16,000 registered voters in the city.

Polling locations

Polling places for Tuesday’s special election. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

If a citizen needs clarification as to where they would vote they may call LeighAnn Melancon at 763-9632 or Joanne King at 763-9631.

If you live in District 1:

• Mesa Elementary, 4801 N. Norris

Precincts 17, 37 and 35

• Zia Elementary, 2400 N. Norris

Precinct 18

• Zia Elementary, 2400 N. Norris

Precinct 19

• Living Stones Community Church, 1800 N. Norris

Precinct 24

If you live in District 2:

• Marshall Middle School, 100 Commerce Way

Precincts 21, 22, 26 and the portion of Precinct 20 between Ninth and 17th streets

• Yucca Middle School, 1500 Sycamore

Precincts 23, 27 and 32

• Lockwood Elementary School, 400 Lockwood

Precincts 5, 28 and 33

If you live in District 3:

• Clovis High School Freshman Campus, 1400 Cameo

Precincts 7, 8, 9, 31 and the portion of Precinct 20 south of Ninth Street

• Roy Walker Community Center, 203 Merriwether

Precincts 6 and 25

If you live in District 4:

• Highland Elementary School, 100 E Plains

Precincts 13, 14, 15 and the portion of Precinct 20 north of 17th Street

• Sandia Elementary Schools, 2801 Lore

Precincts 10, 11 and 12