Four city councilmen seeking reelection

Mike Linn

Four Portales city councilmen whose terms end in 2004 plan on running for another term, and will file next Tuesday to be placed on a March ballot for reelection.
The four councilmen — Mike Miller of Ward D, D.K. Shafer of Ward C, Gary Watkins of Ward B and Alfred Bachicha of Ward A — all cited economic development and the future of water as main issues they plan to tackle if reelected.
Shafer, who has 30 years experience on the council including 16 of those years as mayor, said he will run again in Ward C, the southeast part of town.
Bachicha, who has served on the council for 10 years, said he will also seek reelection in Ward A, the north side of town.
“I want to stay on page with all the things that are being worked on at this time and do whatever I can to promote them,” Bachicha said.
Bachicha said he believes in the importance of economic development in Portales and the financing of the Ute pipeline project.
Shafer, the mayor pro-tem, said keeping Cannon Air Force Base from closing, finding ways to salvage water and staying on pace the Ute pipeline project are among his major goals if reelected.
“All those things add up and we need to all work together (to get them accomplished),” Shafer said.
Shafer added that he is looking forward to working with Debi Lee, the new city manager who began work on Monday.
Miller, who was appointed by Mayor Orlando Ortega after he was elected mayor in March of 2002, said he believes other options besides the Ute pipeline project may be more financially reasonable.
“I think we’re going to have to study that thing and see that it really is the best deal,” Miller said. “I’m not sure we don’t need before we make commitments to look into other options.”
After a December meeting the cost to fund the Ute pipeline project increased to $296 million from $244 million. Officials are hoping for federal funding of the project to account for 80 percent of the costs, while the state and municipalities receiving the water would pay for 10 percent respectively.
The pipeline would bring water from Ute Lake near Logan to municipalities in Quay, Curry and Roosevelt counties.
The city council is made up of two members from each of the four wards in the city. Those who wish to run for a position in the March election can file on Jan. 6 at city hall.
Martinez-Terry said she is unaware if anybody plans on running against the four seeking reelection.