Authorities approve new tariff structure

The Tucumcari City Commission devoted part of its meeting on Thursday to issues of the Tucumcari Convention Center, including the first facility fee increases since 2015.

Commissioners approved a new pricing structure, as recommended by the city’s tenant tax advisory board, for the convention center effective January 1. Most facility rental fees have increased at a rate of 4% compounded annually since 2015.

For example, a commercial entity leasing the entire convention center will pay $ 1,025, up from $ 800 previously. A nonprofit leasing the entire facility would pay $ 750, up from $ 600 previously.

Small rooms in the convention center have seen similar increases.

The push to increase convention center fees came from tenant tax board chairman Matt Bednorz, who said the facility had cheaper fees than smaller convention centers in the area, including in Santa Rosa and Clovis.

The only significant change made by the Commissioners was a fee for the bartenders. Bednorz and the Tenants’ Tax Board had recommended a charge of $ 50 an hour for two bartenders. City manager Mark Martinez, noting the current minimum wage, recommended $ 25 an hour.

Mayor Pro Tem Todd Duplantis, noting that “the convention center is a business, not a charity,” said he wanted to keep it at $ 50 because the state’s minimum wage will increase in 2022.

The commissioners agreed to a level of $ 30 per hour to give the convention center a small profit.

Martinez said people who have already booked the convention center for events will be “grandfathered” to its previous rates.

He said those fees will likely need to be reassessed every year to make sure they keep up with costs.

In addition, the commissioners approved up to $ 155,000 in tax administration funds for tenants to change the floors of the convention center to polished concrete, with the exception of the main hall, which will use carpet tiles for replace the original carpet. Martinez said he had hoped this work would be done by mid-December, but early January seemed more likely.

Commissioners also approved the use of approximately $ 38,000 in tenant tax executive funds for repairs to the north side of the convention center. Martinez said it was not caused by a roof leak, but by poor drainage that caused water to seep into the foundation, through a wall and onto the floors.

Other action

The commissioners took the following steps:

• Approved the temporary appointment of Christopher Maestas, recently elected municipal judge, to this post until his elected term officially takes effect in January.

Maestas will take its seat in mid-December after completing the required training. His appointment will require him to have two swearing-in ceremonies – one on December 13 and the other on December 30.

Former municipal judge Noreen Hendrickson was appointed a magistrate by the governor in early summer.

• Approved the use of tenant tax funds so that Tucumcari / Quay County Chamber of Commerce director Scott Crotzer can attend the American Bus Association conference December 8-11 in Grapevine, TX , and introduce Tucumcari to tourist bus companies.

The price of the conference was not discussed Thursday, but it was revealed at a previous tenant tax council meeting that the registration fee would be at least $ 1,700 for a delegate.

Crotzer said only two cities in New Mexico – Gallup and Roswell – are participating in the conference. It allows a delegate to make a brief presentation to about 75 bus companies there. He said a Gallup official told him the conference was one of the most beneficial to tourism in the city. Gallup is also using its tenants’ tax funds to cover conference costs, he said.

Local tourism officials have been prompted to court more sightseeing buses after a luxury bus with 30 guests stopped in Tucumcari earlier this fall. Crotzer said Tucumcari “blew them away” so much, the bus stopped here again on its return trip. Each overnight tourist bus generates approximately $ 5,000 in revenue.

• Approval of $ 6,000 in tax administration funds for tenants in Carlos Medina for the filming of additional footage, primarily along the Route 66 corridor, for a travel documentary. The commission previously approved $ 15,000 in funds for tenants in Medina to produce “Aventuras Encantandas” or “Enchanted Adventures.”

• Approval of an amended contract with Parkhill Engineering for the rehabilitation of a water reservoir on 11th Street. The city will incur no additional costs; the amendment adds time to complete the project.

• Contract approved with the New Mexico Department of Aging and Long-Term Services Capital Expenditure Office for $ 58,114 to replace ceiling tiles at the Tucumcari Seniors Center.

• Approval of a resolution of the first quarter financial reports to the Department of State Finance and Administration. Chief Financial Officer Rachelle Arias said the report originally showed a deficit of $ 417,000. State officials asked him to include federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, which gave the city a surplus of $ 155,000.

• Approved the reappointment of Lila Doughty on the Tenant Tax Advisory Council.

• Approved the appointment of David Brenner to the Planning and Zoning Council.

• During his city manager’s report, Martinez said an informal meeting had taken place with stakeholders, including New Mexico hunting and fishing rights advocates, on filling Lake Tucumcari to transform it in a wildlife refuge. Martinez said his first priority is to continue to provide enough drinking water to residents of Tucumcari.

Working session

During a working session Thursday, several city commissioners discussed license fees and possible changes to the city’s cannabis ordinance that was approved several weeks ago.

Martinez warned commissioners that they may have to change the order if it violates upcoming state regulations on recreational cannabis. The state is expected to have regulations in place by January 1, with legal sales of marijuana starting April 1.

City clerk Anjelica Gray said the city has already received a commercial demand for recreational marijuana. The state has yet to approve these requests before these sales can begin.

Regarding when Tucumcari can issue cannabis licenses, city lawyer Randall Van Vleck has advised a first-come, first-served approach.

Martinez also recommended that the city issue zoning verification letters to cannabis applicants to inform them that their proposed commercial sites comply with the ordinance.

Regarding cannabis license fees, Commissioner Ralph Moya has suggested a maximum level of $ 2,500. Van Vleck said such charges can likely withstand legal scrutiny because of the extra work required to administer and regulate these stores, as long as the charges are not “unreasonable.” Van Vleck said a simple order outlining a fee schedule can be added to the order.


Some comments from the public and the curators:

• Crotzer said that a Christmas lighting ceremony at Tucumcari Railroad Plaza will take place on November 27. He said 13,000 decorative lights would likely hang there.

• Yvette Kent, a Tucumcari graduate who said she wanted to set up a hookah lounge and recreational marijuana store in Tucumcari, said the city’s business climate will improve when legal sales of marijuana would start next year and added that she “would like a little more support” from the city in starting her business.

• Duplantis urged the city to send the New Mexico Department of Transportation a letter to address chronic stormwater drainage issues along US 54 downtown.

• Moya said the city only had one ambulance again due to repair issues with the city’s fleet. One day the city borrowed an ambulance from House. Martinez said the delivery of a new ambulance was delayed because the necessary parts were out of stock. He said the ambulance could arrive as early as this week.

• Moya also said the city “must take a stand” on cleaning up neglected properties. He cited a partially collapsed building on Second and Main Streets and a closed KFC restaurant on South First Street.

• Moya asked Martinez if he would advertise to hire a director of community services. Martinez responded that the city needed another work session to clarify the job description for the job.

Ida M. Morgan