Legislature awards Quay more than $2.5 million
February 26, 2020
The New Mexico Legislature awarded Quay County more than $2.5 million in capital-outlay projects before its session adjourned last week.
The City of Tucumcari, villages of Logan and San Jon, Mesalands Community College, Quay County and Arch Hurley Conservancy District received allotments from three separate pieces of legislation.
The main capital-outlay bill and a Department of Transportation appropriations bill for streets and roads are subject to final approval by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who can use a line-item veto to nix individual items.
The general-obligation bond capital outlay must by approved by voters in the November election.
The Legislative Council Service on Friday confirmed the list of local capital-outlay items to the Quay County Sun. The $2.06 million in main capital-outlay projects funded in Quay County are:
• Tucumcari sewer infrastructure improvements, $300,000;
• Arch Hurley Conservancy District canal maintenance equipment, $100,000;
• Mesalands gymnasium floor renovations, $100,000;
• Mesalands Community College nurse’s aide and phlebotomy facility renovations, $75,000;
• Mesalands Community College robotics and computer programming equipment, $35,000;
• Quay County Fairgrounds roof replacement, $350,000;
• Logan heavy equipment purchases and equipment, $200,000;
• Logan water system improvements, $550,000;
• San Jon water storage tanks, Phase II, $350,000.
The total amount of capital-outlay projects statewide was $528 million.
Among the local capital-outlay projects funded by general-obligation bonds are:
• Logan Senior Center renovations, $40,000;
• Logan Senior Center vehicles, $48,109;
• Mesalands Community College student center renovations, Phase 2, $425,000.
The general-obligations bill funded more than $195 million in projects statewide.
A state Senate measure that was passed by the House for NMDOT also appropriated $215,000 to purchase and equip a roadway maintenance vehicle for Tucumcari.
Tucumcari city manager Britt Lusk said the sewer infrastructure work is slated for an area near Tucumcari Lake. He said the city requested $1.8 million for the project but acknowledged it was unlikely to receive the full amount.
As for the road-maintenance vehicle, Lusk said state Sen. Pete Campos was trying to get a pothole machine for the city. Lusk said the city already has a such a machine, and “there are other things we have a greater need for” in street maintenance. He said he was hoping to get more clarification soon on what the Senate appropriation can be used for.
Mesalands Community College President John Groesbeck said the new gym floor at the old armory building, now a student center, is needed because the current floor is concrete and unsuitable for basketball and other sports.
Groesbeck the nurse’s aide and phlebotomy facility renovations would allow for simulation training for students using a mock hospital wall, sink and linen closet — all equipped with video cameras so the students’ performances can be monitored.
He said the robotics equipment is for a Robotics Challenge camps attended by elementary, middle-school and high-school students.
The college’s general-obligation bond allocation would be used for extensive renovations to its Building A to create a bookstore and learning-support area.
Jennifer Miller, program manager for the Logan Senior Center, said the two allotments would be used to buy a new meal-delivery vehicle and replace flooring in the center.
Quay County manager Richard Primrose said the capital-outlay money for the fairgrounds would be used to replace a leaky roof on the south livestock barn.
State Sen. Pat Woods (R-Broadview) said in a telephone interview Friday he acknowledged most capital-outlay money would go to the heavily populated Rio Grande Corridor. Those regions also are strongly Democratic, and the Legislature’s numbers reflect that.
Woods said eastern New Mexico still gets its share of capital-outlay money if those requesting it can make a good case for it to him and other lawmakers.
“I think the best outlook is the way we’re doing it: Have the people in the county come to us, make their pitch and see which one is the biggest bang for the buck,” he said.
Woods said he doubted Lujan Grisham would use her veto pen very much as she begins her second year in office.
“I think this governor is still a little bit in her honeymoon stage,” he said.
Woods noted her predecessor, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, and previous Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson, were tougher with their line-item vetoes and tended to “rule by hammer.”