Councilors look to simplify finances

By Sarah Meyer: PNT Staff Writer

The Portales City Council voted Tuesday to consolidate the city’s bank accounts.

Councilors authorized city officials to negotiate terms with First Community Bank. Other banks submitting proposals were Portales National Bank and Wells Fargo.

Councilor Mike Miller, a member of the city’s finance committee, said the move would help the city consolidate 17 bank accounts into five or six. The move also will allow the city to more easily accept credit card payments for things such as water bills, which are divided into funds for water, sewer and garbage.

Councilor Ron Jackson, who is employed at Portales National Bank, abstained from the vote.

Councilors also approved a change order for street projects, allowing the cost of the work, which came in at $20,259 above budget, to be paid. Most of the increased cost came from a miscalculation in the amount of concrete needed for the 18th Street/Avenue D intersection, said Chad Lydick, engineer for the project.

Councilors also voted to accept the completed improvements on that intersection, as well as street and drainage improvements on West Gum, West Juniper and East Eighth streets.

In other action, councilors:

• Approved K. Barnett and Sons’ bid of $718,982 for Downtown Courthouse Square Streetscape and Parking Improvements. The county commission agreed earlier Tuesday to fund half of the projected $178,000 funding shortfall to complete the project.

• Authorized Mayor Orlando Ortega Jr. to sign an grant agreement with the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security for disaster planning.

• Authorized negotiation of a contract for drug and alcohol testing program with S.E.D. Medical Laboratories.

• Approved an ordinance that will allow acceptance of $156,000 from the New Mexico Economic Development Department toward the cost of installing an 8-inch sewer line to Sunland Peanuts. The move will allow Sunland to expand its operations.