County loses out on outlay money

By Thomas Garcia: QCS staff writer

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has frozen more than $1 million in capital outlay money that had been approved and allocated to Quay County agencies.

Tucumcari, Logan and Quay County each have state grant money that has been frozen.

“We were told that capital outlay projects needed to have a contract by Oct. 30,” said Quay County Manager Richard Primrose during Monday’s county meeting. “If a project did not have a contract the state would take the money back.”

The amounts frozen for Quay County are $290,000, which was going to be used for heating, cooling, roofing and electrical improvements at the Quay County Exhibit Hall and road repairs.

Primrose said they have a contract for part of the money and they have gone to bid on the heating and cooling system. However, he said the roof repair and electrical work would have to be done first and they do not have a contract for that work.

“Right now we will just have to wait and see how this all plays out,” Primrose said.

For some, waiting until the January session of the Legislature is too late.

“Right now we are working to get some of the funds unfrozen, especially those that have an approaching deadline with matching federal funding,” said Misty Vick, Tucumcari Community Development project coordinator.

Vick said some of the projects effected by this have federal funding in place and a December deadline to use the funds.

“We need the state money to proceed with the projects,” Vick said. “We are scrambling doing our best to get these funds unfrozen and back into our budgets to get these projects under way.”

Tucumcari has $779,000 in frozen money. Projects impacted are the waste water treatment plant, landfill and street work projects.

The village of Logan had $100,000 frozen. It had planned to buy solid waste trucks to transport garbage to the new Tucumcari landfill.

“Right now we are just waiting to see if that landfill is even going to get it off the ground,” said Larry Wallin, Logan village manager.

Wallin said he understands everyone’s frustration with the freezing of the money.

“Little we can do but wait and see at this point,” Wallin said.