Council honors century mark with new flag

By Eric Butler: PNT Staff Writer

Portales officials took a major look at the city’s past while ushering in the future.

A council meeting Tuesday marked the first in which members used laptops instead of paper to look over the evening’s agenda.

But after regular business items were tended to, the council reconvened outside for a flag-raising and a look back at the mayors of the city’s first 100 years of history.

The scene was the Centennial Street Fair on Main Street.

“It’s wonderful. Only every hundred years do you get to celebrate the 100th anniversary and I’m very proud to be the mayor during that time,” said Mayor Orlando Ortega after the city’s official centennial flag was hoisted.

“I think the successes of our community have been because of looking at the past and to learn from the past.

“It’s fitting to have both of our former (living) mayors here,” said Ortega of predecessors Don Davis and D.K. Shafer.

At city hall earlier, a limited agenda was presented to the council during a meeting that was moved up to 5 p.m. from its usual starting time of 7 p.m..

Two resolutions were passed unanimously by council members.

One was a $500,000 award from the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration Local Government Division. The cash will be used for road improvements on both Brazos and Amazon streets between Elgin and Globe as well as for East First St. between Elgin and Knoxville streets.

The grant money did come with a stipulation, however. The City of Portales approved spending $153,000 in leverage funds and $50,000 more in matching funds in order to get the money from the state.

“We had put forth proposals for a partial grant and a full grant. We were awarded the full grant, but we have to pay the $203,894,” said Tom Howell, acting city manager. “I think it’s a project that’s well-needed. We have a lot of areas that it’s needed, but this was the one that was chosen.”

Another resolution was passed to accept $20,000 in grant money from the New Mexico Department of Health.

The state has initiated pilot programs to implement provisions of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2006. Portales is one of three New Mexico communities selected for the project.

Portales Fire Chief John Bridges told the council the city needed to “conduct a tabletop exercise” as part of the condition to accept the grant.

“It’s a plan of action in response to an incident or an occurrence that can happen,” Bridges said. “Specifically, for this (plan), it’s for a pandemic flu or a pandemic incident, an all-hazard incident, which would fall into our emergency plan. It’s something for us to be better prepared in case something were to happen.”