Officials hopeful legislative funding survives

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

The fate of funding local projects lies in the governor’s hands.

Gov. Bill Richardson can veto the million-dollar packed bill, or with a quick signature make some local officials very happy.
Tucumcari city and Quay County officials are hopeful that the capital outlay projects bill will survive Richardson’s scrutiny.

The Legislature adjourned Thursday, but not before a capital improvement bill was sent to the governor. An earlier and similar bill was vetoed on Wednesday by Richardson.

The governor has until March 5 to sign off on the appropriations. However, there is speculation that a special session could be called in the near future that would stall approval of the bill.

“We balanced the budget,” said Sen. Clint Harden, R-Clovis. “We went through a lot of legislation and did a lot of work.”

However, the governor’s push for health care for all New Mexicans ran aground, according to news reports.

Harden said legislators approved $91 million in new funds for Medicaid. That will be matched by an additional $270 million in federal funds.

“That’s a lot of new money to provide health care insurance for the very, very poor,” he said. “That’s a good thing.”
In the bill are $1.6 million worth of projects from Quay County.

The largest line item is $380,000 for Tucumcari for water and wastewater improvements.
“I’m glad it’s still alive,” said Tucumcari City manager John Sutherland.

Quay County manager Richard Primrose said he was hopeful the county’s requests would remain.

Quay County projects in the bill are:
Ute Reservoir
l Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority Ute Reservoir $230,000
l Landfill equipment and truck loader $100,000
l MSD vehicles purchase $25,000
l Senior Center vehicles $35,000
l Water and wastewater infrastructure projects $25,000

Mesalands Community College
l North American Wind Research and Training Center $25,000

New Mexico State University
l Tucumcari Agricultural Science Center $25,000

Quay County
l Infrastructure improvements $80,000
l Rock crusher purchase for road building $300,000

San Jon
l Ambulance chassis purchase $25,000
l Fire Department facility and truck $3000,000
l MSD activity bus $55,000

l Tucumcari water and wastewater improvement $380,000
Another bill – that has been approved, Senate Bill 165 – has appropriated:
l $10,000 for the recruitment of a medical provider for Logan and Quay County health clinics
l $25,000 for the intercollegiate rodeo program at Mesalands Community College.

Freedom New Mexico staff writer Sarah Meyer contributed to this report.