By Paula Cronic: PNT Staff Writer
A quality-of-life study conducted by an Internet subsidiary of American City Business Journals has ranked Portales 15th in the nation among micropolitan areas.
“Isn’t that something? I’m surprised we’re even on the list,” Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce Manager Sharon King said.
“How interesting. I think it’s absolutely wonderful and I wholeheartedly agree,” she said.
According to Bizjournals.com, micropolitan areas are smaller than metropolitan areas, usually consisting of a county or cluster of counties economically dependent on a central city, town or village with 10,000 to 50,000 residents.
The methodology behind the study was ranking the quality of life in every U.S. micropolitan area in 12 categories. Those categories included income growth, per capita income, small business growth, population growth, ease of commuting and low taxation.
The study said the U.S. Office of Management and Budget identified 577 micropolitan areas in the country.
Bozeman, Mont., ranked No. 1 in the study.
“Portales did well in several categories that we measured,” said Scott G. Thomas, the author of the study. “Your per capita income is growing at a strong rate, your commuting times are short, your taxes are exceptionally low, and you have a substantial percentage of adults with graduate degrees.”
The only other city in New Mexico to make the list ahead of Portales was Los Alamos at No. 10.
Jeremy Sturm, Portales’ director of community development, said he is thrilled at the news.
“It’s just a testament of what Portales has to offer,” Sturm said. “And I know, because I’ve lived in a lot of different places, that living in a small town like this has a lot to offer that most people don’t think about.”
Sturm said city staff are always trying to promote Portales’ many attributes.
“It (the study) tells us what we already thought, but it’s documented proof that we’re not just making this stuff up and that it’s for real,” he said.
Thomas said Portales’ biggest negatives were the city’s weak concentration of small businesses and the great distance to any large metropolitan area.