Commission approves referendum election for Aug. 2

Kevin Wilson

With a swift special meeting, Clovis City Commission approved what will be its second referendum election in a little more than three months.

Clovis residents will vote Aug. 2 to uphold or overturn the commission’s 6-1 vote in favor of creating an affordable housing plan. The state’s anti-donation clause does not allow a municipality to directly or indirectly lend credit or make a donation to any person, association or company, but amendments are allowed for affordable housing or economic development.

The city also held a referendum election May 3. During that election, voters upheld the commission’s 7-1 vote for a .25 percent gross receipts tax increase to pay for expenses related to the Ute Water Project.

Both elections were forced by petitions from the High Plains Patriots Citizens group, which both times submitted signatures in excess of the required 456 registered Clovis voters — 20 percent of the previous municipal election turnout.

The meeting took about five minutes, and was approved on a 5-0 vote. According to the vote:

• Polls will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 2. Precincts will be the same as those used in the May 3 referendum election.

• Absentee ballots will be available June 28-July 29, and will be accepted through Aug. 2.

• Early voting will be available at city hall during normal business hours July 13-29

• Only registered voters living inside Clovis city limits can vote. If a resident isn’t currently a registered voter, they must do so on or before July 5 to cast a ballot in the referendum election.

• The ballot will read, “Shall Ordinance No. 1957-2011, an Ordinance Establishing an Affordable Housing Program pursuant to the Affordable Housing Act, defining terms, establishing application requirements and review criteria; and establishing procedures to administer an Affordable Housing Plan, be approved in the City of Clovis?”

• The city will spend approximately $17,000 on the election. The total is based on the cost of the May 3 election.

Commissioner Fred Van Soelen asked if the election might cost more because the May 3 election used leftover materials that were exhausted. City Manager Joe Thomas said the election falls in the 2011-12 fiscal year, so it can be specifically addressed in that budget process.

Mayor Gayla Brumfield asked for the city to keep account of overtime pay associated with the election.