Most capital outlay projects survive veto stage

By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun

While some projects were reduced or cut entirely from the budget, Quay County didn’t suffer nearly as much as other counties after Gov. Bill Richardson used his line-item veto power on potential capital outlay projects.

“To balance a budget, tough decisions have to get made,” said James Jimenez, cabinet secretary for the state’s department of finance and administration. “Actually, Quay County fared pretty well.”

Quay County had 14 projects that got through the Legislature in February, worth about $1.9 million. Of those projects, two were cut and two had funding reduced to result in a $200,000 cut for the final total.

The two programs that were cut outright were:

• $50,000 for the heating and air conditioning at the House senior center and

• $50,000 toward creation of the Mesalands Community College’s Wind Research Training Center.

Rep. Brian Moore, R-Clayton, said he didn’t understand why money got cut from community centers, including the one at House, but that’s the nature of the business.

“You always want everything to make it, and we wanted to get a lot more for the county,” Moore said. “But that’s the governor’s prerogative to do that.”

Officials at Mesalands weren’t too upset about losing the $50,000.

John Yearout, the director of public relations for MCC, said he could understand why the governor vetoed the wind research project. The college had originally sought $15 million in two capital layout requests for the center, Yearout said, so $50,000 was a “drop in the bucket” that really wouldn’t have done much.

Projects that had cuts in funding were $50,000 for Arch/Hurley conservancy equipment and $50,000 for construction on Quay County Agriculture Education Center. The projects have funding in amounts of $50,000 and $350,000, respectively.

Jimenez said the Legislature dipped into state reserves beyond Richardson’s level of comfort, and hard choices had to be made.

“We tried to ensure as much as possible economic development projects, water and wastewater treatment projects, education projects (were spared). We tried to single those out (for approval).

“We didn’t (save them) completely, but those were the goals.”