By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
City commissioners will take another look and make amendments to a proposed ordinance for yard, garage and rummage sales after hearing concerns voiced by residents Thursday at City Hall.
A public hearing for Ordinance 1136 was listed on Thursday’s agenda, although commissioners moved to postpone the second reading and subsequent voting for approval until resident’s concerns have been addressed.
The proposed change to the city’s municipal code would require residents to obtain a permit at no cost from the city in order to hold a garage, rummage or yard sale and limit residents to four sales a year.
“The ordinance is unfair to the community,” said Dena Mericle, former city resident.
Mericle, was one of the four residents who were sworn in during the meeting to comment about the ordinance to the commissioners.
Mericle said she had started an online petition after hearing about the ordinance and it has more than 350 signatures. She said the majority of the comments left on the petition are constructive and also object to the ordinance.
This ordinance was developed to ensure people do not have continual garage sales every weekend, said Jared Langenegger, city manager.
Langenegger said these sales are occurring in a residential area where residents have raised concerns about the traffic hazardous and congestion it causes in those areas. He said the city continues to have a problem with people operating a business and calling it a garage sale. People are opening every weekend selling second-hand goods, Langenegger added.
“These second hand stores operating as garage sales are undesirable,” said Robert Roark, city resident.
Roark said the continuos sales lead to traffic congestion, property trespassing and it cheats the city out of gross receipt taxes. He said there are plenty of vacant store fronts in town. “These people should follow the law and get a license and operate a store legally,” Roark said.
Mericle said if this is the primary concern than the ordinance needs to be rewritten to target those specific people that may operate a continuous sale not the entire community.
“This is also a social activity for many of our residents,” Mericle said.
Most of the residents holding garage sales are doing so to raise extra money, “I was one of those raising extra money,” said Tony Leal, resident.
Leal said she held garage sales and used the money raised to help with the cost of taking her sister for medical treatments out of town.
Langenegger said the ordinance would not prevent anyone from holding a yard sale, “it limits the number of sales a single resident can hold and requires a free permit to hold a sale.”
“You are creating more work for the police department to go out each weekend and check yard sales for permits,” Leal said.
After hearing these concerns it is clear the commission needs to work with the citizens to amend this ordinance, said Robert Lumpkin, mayor pro-tem.
During Langenegger’s manager report;
Langenegger said he would meet Monday with New Mexico MainStreet for an assessment of the Princess Theater. He said depending on the assessment MainStreet could have a potential funding source for the restoration of the building.
Langenegger said the city will work with Xcel Energy who will make energy saving evaluations at numerous facilities. He said the evaluations will determine if there are energy saving upgrades that can be done to reduce cost. The cost savings could eventually pay for the cost of upgrading the facility, Langenegger added.
Other items before the commission:
Approved a memorandum of understanding between the city and Tucumcari Senior Citizens Center and the New Mexico Senior Olympics Inc./ County Senior Olympics for five local athletes to attend state games.
• Approved a memorandum of understanding between the city and outdoor classrooms to allow the outdoor classroom to apply for grants.
• Approved a contract for Clara Rey as senior citizens director.
• Approved the recommendation not to accept change order 5 for Metro Well Field Water Transmission Line. Project Manager, Mark Martinez said the requested change order is not justified.
• Approved $9,300 to be spent through the Lodger’s Tax Board for two T.V. commercial promoting Tucumcari.