Interim city manager appointment, Yam Theatre construction highlight city meeting

Current Portales City Manager Debi Lee, whose last day is slated for June 19, said she believes an interim manager will be appointed tonight as part of a regular meeting of the Portales City Council.

Council members will meet in an executive, or closed, session after voting on several regular agenda items. Though the council cannot take any action in the closed session, Lee expects a motion and vote on a possible temporary successor to herself could come afterward.

“I’m almost positive it will (happen). We’ve got three or four really good people. The problem is not that there’s no one to pick, but which one to pick,” said Lee, who has accepted the manager position for the city of Ruidoso.

As part of the regular agenda for tonight’s meeting at 7, the city council will vote on continuing forward with the project to rehabilitate the Yam Theatre building on Main Street.

The old theatre was essentially hulled out before work began on reconstructing the roof and lobby areas. The cost of the project is expected to total $750,000.

A second phase of construction, proposed to be awarded to Danny Heflin Builders Inc., will be considered by council members tonight. Heflin’s company is nearing completion of the first phase of the project.

“We’ve kind of completed Phase I of the construction. Phase II is everything else, basically,” Portales Planning Director Sammy Standefer said. “We’re estimating six to nine months, but that’s a rough estimate (for the second phase).

“Our goal is to get a usable building. Our second goal is to get a stage, then tables and chairs,” he added. “We’ll be adding the accessories when we can.”

Other items before the Portales City Council include a resolution to establish “reasonable fees” for fingerprints, DVDs and paper copies regarding public record inspections, as well as another resolution to encourage the residents of Portales to conserve water.