By Marlena Hartz : Freedom Newspapers
An infant organization formed to ease the transition to a new mission at Cannon Air Force Base met for the first time Thursday.
The Local Growth Management Organization — consisting of hand-picked community members — discussed the road ahead with their governing body, the Local Growth Management Committee.
“We’ve laid the foundation for a fruitful process,” said Clovis Mayor David Lansford, founder of the committee.
“Hopefully, it will serve us well,” he said.
The organization will make recommendations to the committee regarding projects or studies that may need to be completed to handle changes with the new mission at Cannon.
The group will also serve as a liaison between the committee, the Air Force and the Office of Economic Adjustment, a federal agency that helps communities impacted by military decisions.
The Air Force 16th Special Operations Wing assumes ownership of Cannon in October.
Nine organization members were appointed Jan. 12 by the committee, which consists of elected representatives from Portales, Clovis, and Curry and Roosevelt counties.
Exactly how the 16th SOW will affect eastern New Mexico is uncertain, and will be until March when an environmental assessment of the mission is complete, according to Air Force officials.
“Some of (that) information we are going to have dig out — it’s not just going to come to us,” Lansford told organization members.
He said it would be their duty to find that information, and their success combined with government entities’ could define the scope and size of the new mission.
Pat Burns, an organization member from Cannon, said, “It’s a unique opportunity to have input in this process.
“We (eastern New Mexico) are at a kind of turning point right now.”
To aid its endeavors, the organization can draw upon Clovis, Portales, Curry and Roosevelt counties resources, including its staff members.
The committee plans to fund or reimburse members for trips or expenses they may incur in their endeavors, committee members said Thursday.
Because the organization is simply an advisory body that will report to the committee on a quarterly basis, it can meet without notifying the public.
The committee, however, is subject to open meeting laws.