Area residents to face off for council seat

Tony Parra

Mike Miller was the Portales fire chief for nine years and a Roosevelt County manager for six years. Here are some of his ideas on the city council position.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Ute Water Project?
A: I’ve been with and around local government since I went to work for the fire department since 1977. I know that Ute has been a subject that the local government in this area has been involved with for that number of years if not longer. We’re getting to the point where things are going to start moving. I’ve said this before I’m not against this at all. It’s going to be a huge investment and I just think we have to proceed as we have and make sure that before we invest a lot of money, we have all of our T’s crossed and our I’s are dotted and that we know what we are getting into. We know what the future of the project is going to hold for us as far as long-term water. We need to proceed with caution.

Q: What can Portales do to bring new businesses in?
A: I think not only as a city councilman, but as citizens, we keep our eyes open and ears to the ground about things that might be prospective for our community. I think we need to continue to bring in the kind of jobs that are good-paying jobs that are clean-industries. We have to continue to provide quality of life that they (prospective businesses see. That they see that we have a good education system, that we have a good recreation system for their kids. This community offers all that. We have a good school system, we’ve got Eastern New Mexico University. We have a lot of culture in our community that a lot of towns our size don’t have because of the university. All of these contribute to economic development and the attractiveness of an economic development.

Q: What types of businesses should we bring in?
A: What I think and what we can do maybe two different things. I think we need to continue to develop on what we have on our community and add to that. We’ve got a cheese plant because we have a great dairy community. We’ve got Dairy Concepts out here because we have the dairies around here. It would be wonderful to find businesses that can come in here and employ a good number of people at high-paying positions and they didn’t need much water. That would be the ideal situation. We need to continue to find businesses to come to Portales that can provide good-paying jobs and that can provide good benefits for our businesses.

Q: What areas do you believe we need to improve on for the city?
A: Long-term we are in a comprehensive planning process and we need to plan for the future in a systematic way. As long as I’ve lived here we can always use street improvements. We could use a good drainage plan. Those are two critical things that we need to continue to work for.

Q: What are Portales’ strengths that should be focused on in attracting other businesses?
A: We have a great education system and we have a great health-care community. Those are the first two things people ask about. How’s your schools? How’s your health care? I think we have a wonderful quality of life in Portales. The biggest asset of Portales is it’s people. The people in this town are friendly, they’re open, they’re honest and that’s what makes Portales a great community.

Eddy Hiner ran for the county assessor position in Clovis almost seven years ago and is currently the owner of Berkley and Arizona apartments. Here are some of his ideas on the city council position.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Ute Water Project?
A: I am against the Ute Water pipeline. This project has been talked about for approximately 40 years. When Ute Lake was completed in 1964, everyone thought that this pipeline would be built right away. But so far no municipality or organization has ever gotten it off of the ground or in the ground. If this were such a viable project then I feel it would cost to construct. I do not know what Portales has invested in this project money-wise, but I would guess that a very large sum has been wasted. Maybe some of the people who have been supporting and promoting this project for years could tell us. Also, this is not a reliable water source as Texas has an interest in control over the water in Ute Lake. Another issue that relates to Ute Lake is the purification system. How are we going to treat this water to get it potable? Lake water will take a lot more sophisticated filtering system than ground water. Lake water will have chemicals from gas and oil from exhaust on boats, dead carcasses, fish, animals, etc. Will we be able to afford a filtration system?

Q: What can Portales do to bring new businesses in?
A: This is a very difficult question to answer. We could sell Portales at trade shows or perhaps trade magazines, but this could get very expensive and still not get the result that we are looking for. The city owns property that we could give or sell at a very low price to entice new business start-ups that would treat permanent long-term employment. There are also tax and utility packages that could be offered. Another thing to look at would be to sell Portales as a retirement community. Every year thousands of snowbirds come from back east to Arizona and Texas to escape the cold.

Q: What types of businesses should we be bringing in?
A: Anything that will create jobs and not damage our environment. A call center would be good, if it were permanent. Manufacturing would also be good. We are in a central location with access to railroads and good highways for trucking. Agriculture related business is a possibility, too.

Q: What areas do you believe we need to improve on for the city?
A: Be more open-minded toward new businesses and already established businesses.

Q: What are Portales strengths that should be focused on in attracting other businesses?
A: Our climate. We have a large work-force available. We have transportation, such as railroads, highways, etc. Wide-open space. Land availability.

Q: What about a landfill?
A: This should also be a priority. We are wearing out expensive equipment and wasting city employee’s time by hauling our trash to Clovis. Portales needs to get its own landfill.