Not all the actions from Santa Fe are grim for this area.
While Gov. Susana Martinez nixed a legislation for a regional air authority for the Roswell air center and vetoed some capital outlay allocations, she did authorize millions in funding for Roswell and Chaves County projects and entities.
On Wednesday, she signed two funding bills in which state legislators voted to give $3.53 million to governments and nonprofits in Roswell and Chaves County. That does not include allocations to Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell or New Mexico Military Institute, to be covered in a future story.
Of the $3.53 million received by county and municipal governments in the area, almost $2.4 million will go to the Roswell air center.
City projects funded
The city of Roswell benefited primarily with funding for air center projects and the South Park Cemetery.
“The state assistance for funding is a great benefit for Roswell, and our local legislators deserve our appreciation for their efforts,” said Roswell City Manager Joe Neeb. “The projects that these funds help complete will free up other city funds for other important projects such as street and sidewalk repairs.”
The Roswell International Air Center received $900,000 in state general fund appropriations for repairs and maintenance of hangars, while it also received $1,485,600 in capital outlay funding for roof replacement and fire suppression upgrades at hangars.
Neeb explained that the money will go first to the ongoing project at Hangar 1083, leased by Dean Baldwin Painting, with any remaining money going to repairs or upgrades at other hangars.
Work on the $4.6 million Dean Baldwin hangar repair began in July and so far has been paid for by $1.25 million in city funds, a $2.5 million loan from the state, and a recently received $800,000 federal grant.
“There are three primary areas that were identified with the Dean Baldwin hangar project. The main concern was the roof replacement,” said Neeb. “That portion of the project is 70 percent complete, with a projected project completion by the end of 2018.
“The other two areas are replacing the outdated transformers to improve the electrical system and an upgrade for the fire suppression system. A firm completion date for all of the work will be considered by the City Council in the next couple of months.”
South Park Cemetery was given $150,000 to continue its upgrades to roads within the property.
County’s priorities receive money
Chaves County received capital outlay funds for four purposes, three involving the county and one involving funding for a nonprofit group.
The initiative to add an elevator at the Chaves County Courthouse at 400 N. Virginia Avenue has been given $246,800.
“I am really happy that our perseverance on the courthouse elevators seems to be paying off,” said Chaves County Public Works Director Bill Williams. “We recognize that that has been an issue, and we have been searching every avenue to come up with a way to correct that problem, and it looks as if we are pointed in the right direction at least.”
The addition of an elevator is meant to increase accessibility for those experiencing physical challenges. Right now the only entries normally available to the public are the front-entrance staircase, which has 22 steps, or a winding, narrow and steep ramp. A handicapped-accessible lift has not been operating for two years due to safety concerns.
Designing and construction of the elevator are estimated to cost between $475,000 and $490,000.
“We will immediately move forward on the final design. Then we will have to go to out for bids for everything,” Williams said. “We are still hopeful that we will find some other funding. We realize that it is a critical need for Chaves County, and we are thankful to the legislature for giving us this.”
Williams also expressed appreciation for the $205,512 received to improve Hobson Road.
He explained that the project has been a complicated one up to this point that involved a drainage study and an engineering plan.
“The planning is all completely done. The permitting is 99 percent done, so we are at the threshold at being ready to go out for bids,” Williams said. “So this money will go in to start the construction. We are at the point that going out for bids is imminent.”
He estimated that it would take about a year to finish construction once it begins.
Both the city of Roswell and Chaves County will benefit from the $220,000 received for an emergency radio equipment upgrade. The funding request came to legislators from Chaves County administrators, but it is a multi-year, $4 million project for equipment used by first responders in both the city and county.
The upgrade effort previously has garnered $1.08 million in grants, as well as money from city and county budgets.
Legislators also allocated $100,000 for handicapped-accessible vans for the Southeast New Mexico Veteran’s Transportation Network. The money for the nonprofit goes through the county, which serves as the organization’s fiscal agent.
Hagerman and Lake Arthur also benefit
Two of three municipal projects in Chaves County that legislators approved passed Martinez’s scrutiny.
Lake Arthur will receive $150,000 for a backhoe and loader, while Hagerman will receive $65,000 for improvements to the Angell Sports Complex.
But she vetoed the $275,000 allocation for Dexter to design and build new docks at Lake Van.
Although Gov. Martinez did not give reasons for specific line-item vetoes of capital outlay allocations, in her executive message concerning her decisions on the bill, she noted that she approved projects that. in her opinion. held the most value for taxpayers.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at email@example.com.