Committee to help city council fund new businesses

Mike Linn

An eight-member committee will make recommendations to the Portales City Council regarding taxpayer funding for business owners seeking to establish themselves in Portales.
One of the group’s first missions will be to discuss the application of a developer seeking taxpayer dollars in his efforts to build a new hotel in the city, Mayor Orlando Ortega said at Tuesday night’s special city council meeting.
Ortega added that another developer from California is seeking financial assistance from the city to help fund an overhaul of the Portales Inn.
The committee will make recommendations to the city council about financing business operations that will promote the city’s economic development. The money — currently about $110,000 according to city attorney Stephen Doerr — is collected from a 1/8 percent gross receipts tax registered voters approved more than a year ago.
The council on Tuesday approved City Councilman Ron Jackson and Gary Creighton, the mayor’s nominee and district manager of Purina Mills, to the committee.
“A new hotel would help a lot,” Creighton said. “I bring people into town on a regular basis and most of the time they have to stay in Clovis. That (a new hotel) would be a good start (for funding).”
Creighton also noted that the city’s housing industry needs a boost.
Committee member John Pugh — assigned to the committee by the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce — agreed a new hotel would be great for Portales.
As a member, Pugh said his main objective is to endorse business owners who will bring jobs to the community and enhance the city’s economic development.
“I think any business that would bring jobs — not retail jobs — but jobs that are actually going to add to this community (would be good candidates),” Pugh said. “I would be open to anything, within reason, that would be a benefit to our community.”
The remaining five members of the committee include Kim Huffman, Jerry Partin and former-Mayor Don Davis from the Executive Committee of the Portales Development Corporation; Randy Burnett from Portales MainStreet; and recently hired city manager Debi Lee or her designee.
An ad hoc committee of three non-voting members will also make suggestions and advise members of city code and finances. They include Portales Community Development Director Darla Wilhoit, the city’s building inspector and a representative of the treasurer’s office .