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NMMI operating budget to include raises, renovations

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Trevier Gonzalez Photo A NMMI cadet passes through Cahoon Armory Friday afternoon following a New Mexico Military Institute Board of Regents meeting which approved the 2018-2019 fiscal year operating budget.

Renovations to Cahoon Armory and an across-the-board raise for NMMI staff and faculty are just some of the expenditures included in the newly approved budget for the New Mexico Military Institute.

With the April 27 approval for the 2018-19 operating budget during the New Mexico Military Institute Board of Regents’ monthly meeting, Chief Financial Officer Judy Scharmer explained significant revisions from the past year, as well as the Institute’s planned approach for the years to come.

Trevier Gonzalez Photo
Col. Judy Scharmer, Chief Financial Officer for NMMI, outlines the 2017-2018 fiscal year operating budget to members of the New Mexico Military Institute Board of Regents Friday during a monthly meeting.

“Two of the primary significant revisions to the 17-18 budget is that, number one, is that NMMI had additional revenue of $7.8 million generated from the New Mexico Land income,” Col. Scharmer said. “That is due to the increase of the oil and gas exploration and production in our Permian Basin.”

As a result, NMMI’s reserve balance for the 2018-19 fiscal year is close to $25 million, Scharmer said.

“I always take the approach of a balanced budget where the revenues equal the expenditures, as well as conserving a minimum of a $5 million operating reserve,” Scharmer explained. “(The) good news is that the Land Grant Permanent Fund’s anticipated distribution will give NMMI and additional $1.7 million.”

Scharmer said to members of the board that with that $1.7 million, $1.2 million will be allocated to fund various requests brought forward to her from various departments at the Institute.

“This will include a 3 percent increase for all staff and faculty,” Scharmer said. “We have not had an across-the-board increase for over the last three years, so this is great news for everyone here at NMMI.”

The raises are set to begin July 1.

The Institute will also be able to add six new positions and set $25,000 a year to keep textbooks current.

“I do believe that that is a very important item to be able to — to have new books on a continual basis to be able to replace them and add to the value of the classroom,” Scharmer said.

Other items included additional drama supplies, baseball equipment, an “early warning” funding, night study hall funding, “alumni development transition,” football recruiting traveling dollars and a part-time volleyball coach.

“The $1.7 million will not only be able to fund these initiatives, but I am going to take $500,000 and hopefully grow the operating reserve another $500,000,” Scharmer said. “The other part of the operating budget includes capital expenditures.”

Contruction is also set to begin with Cahoon Armory, a $10 million project.

“Also, I added to the ‘18-’19 year the JRT (J. Ross Thomas) Hall renovation, which is also a $10 million project, and the (barracks’) sinkroom renovations, a $3.75 million (project),” Scharmer said. “Now keep in mind that these projects have to go through to the voters of New Mexico in order for us to obtain the GO (general obligation) bond money that has been approved by the legislatures on the capital project bill. However, I’m a positive thinker and I added those expenditures to our ‘18-’19 capital outlay.”

Scharmer later clarified that while Cahoon Hall has been approved, the money to fund JRT hall and the sinkroom renovations will have the opportunity to be approved in the November general election.

“In the barracks, at the end of the hallways, they have showers and sinks and bathrooms,” she explained. “Right now, they are in desperate need of renovation.”

Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez also covers NMMI and can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.