Editor’s note: The following is the one part in a question and answer series of candidates running in the municipal election on March 7. Candidates are asked question sregarding the city’s future.
Incumbent Jake Lopez, 68, is running for re-election in Ward A and will be facing Lorenzo Baca, 39.
1. In your view, what is the most pressing issue the Portales City Council is facing?
I feel right now that there are several issues facing our community but the one that sticks out the most is the road conditions throughout our municipality. I feel we need to continue focusing on obtaining as much capital outlay monies as possible during this legislation. I have been to Santa Fe several times and have met with our respective legislators to request these monies for capital outlay. I am also the Community Development Block Grant representative for this region which the governor appointed me to and I will give 100 percent towards allocating grant monies for our community to address issues like road improvements.
2. What is your philosophy on economic development for Portales?
My philosophy for economic development is that we need to continue doing what we’ve been doing for the last several years. The mayor, council, county commissioners, chamber, Community Development Center, state government, main street board and many others have worked cooperatively to expand as much energy towards bringing in new business to our community. It has worked and will continue to work in the future. We have also built a great relationship with the Clovis community which I feel will benefit our economic development in years to come.
3. Should we continue to pursue the Ute Water Project? Why or why not?
I feel it is crucial for us to pursue the Ute Water Project. There has been a lot of time, energy and money expended with this effort and I would like to see it complete. Our mayor has dedicated his time and is currently the vice chair of the Ute Water Project and is very devoted to seeing this project complete. I support the mayor in his efforts and we all know water shortage is a big issue all over the state. With this project complete, I would feel much more comfortable about the future of our children and grandchildren in our community.
4. With the solid waste contract with Clovis set to expire in three years, should the city reopen its own landfill? What other measures should play a part in exploring this problem?
I feel with the existing contract it has been the most cost-effective way of doing business in reference to our landfill issue which I do not feel is a problem in our community. We have built a good relationship with the Clovis community and I am hoping we will negotiate another contract when this one expires. One of the things I would like to see our community take more advantage of is utilization of our convenient station. Rather than dumping large items in alleys or transporting them to Clovis, residents can take their dump to the convenient station which is located in Portales.
5. How should the city go about addressing housing needs?
Our housing needs have been an issue for several years now. With Eastern New Mexico University and our economy continuing to grow, as well as Cannon Air Force Base hopefully getting a new mission the need is going to continue. I feel one of the remedies will be to acquire land outside of the city limits and have it annexed into the city. We can then offer it to developers which will be willing to invest in subdivisions throughout the county. We have a good relationship with our county commissioners and they fully understand our needs. Our economic development board will just have to continue keeping a close watch and our local government will act accordingly to our needs.
I am also governor-appointed to the Region 4 Housing Authority Board and I will continue to address our housing issues at our state level.