Conner sworn in as newest Eunice councilor
EUNICE — The Eunice City Council is officially complete.
Early in Tuesday’s regular council meeting, Carlos Eli Conner took the oath of office, filling a council seat vacated this month by Steve Almager, who resigned for employment reasons.
Conner, a Eunice native, applied for the position after the March municipal elections which resulted in now Mayor Billy Hobbs leaving a vacant council seat. Hobbs said the council liked both Conner and Chris Meyers, another applicant.
In a closed personnel session, Almager notified the council he would be resigning, so both applicants could be accepted. Meyers took Hobbs’ seat at the last meeting.
“I feel the sense of community and longing familiarity that growing up in Eunice instills within those who have had that privilege and I, quite simply, want to give back and keep our community moving in the right direction,” Conner said in his application for the council seat.
In other business, the council heard Planning and Zoning Board Chairwoman Fay Thompson chide them for considering an appeal from Misty Baker who requested approval of a variance for a mobile home on Avenue G.
Citing a rule requiring mobile homes moved into that area to be no more than 10 years old, Thompson challenged the council members to read the city’s planning and zoning rules. The planning board had already denied Baker’s request because the structure is older, even though she had moved it on site.
“We had sent her a letter to say her request was denied, but she could appeal to the council,” City Manager Marty Moore said. “That’s what she was doing last night, exercising her right to appeal.”
The council unanimously tabled Baker’s appeal, however, after Councilman Terry Bettis challenged whether she had clear title to the property. Bettis said his family members own much of the property in the area, so he would abstain from voting even though he would vote “no” based on the 10-year rule.
Moore said the council could still go either way, but if it decides against Baker she would be given a certain length of time to remove the mobile home.
Baker, an office manager for Basic Energy in Eunice, said her intent was to rent the three-bedroom mobile home to employees.
The council also tabled a proposed memorandum of understanding between Waste Control Specialists LLC and Eunice Fire and Rescue at the recommendation of City Attorney Tommy Parker, who expressed concerns about insurance.
WCS operates a permitted and licensed hazardous and low level radioactive waste treatment, storage and disposal facility in Andrews County about five miles east of Eunice. The proposed memorandum of understanding would anticipate support from Eunice emergency personnel in the event of an emergency at WCS, and the trained responders at WCS would support Eunice if requested.
Finally, at Moore’s recommendation the council unanimously approved paying an annual fee of $1,000 for membership in the Southeastern New Mexico Economic Development District.
He noted several instances when that organization helped the city obtain grants well exceeding the cost of membership.