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Legislators vote for $9 million for local projects

A walking and exercise trail being developed to the south of the Chaves County Administrative Center is one of 26 projects or equipment purchases by county entities that legislators have approved for capital outlay funding. The bill will now go to the Governor’s Office for consideration. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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Capital outlay funding bill now heads to governor’s desk

Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell, the city of Roswell and Chaves County have received a large portion of the capital outlay funding provided to local entities by the New Mexico Legislature.

The college received about a third of the $9.08 million legislators have provided for 26 capital projects and equipment expenditures by Chaves County entities for 2021-2022. The city and county have received $3.28 million, or about 36%, of the preliminary allocations.

The Senate approved the $517.7 million capital outlay bill, House Bill 285, by a vote of 39-0 Friday evening. The bill includes an amendment for an emergency clause that will make the bill effective upon signing. The House of Representatives had passed the bill Tuesday by a vote of 70-0.

The legislation now heads to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has the authority to veto all or parts of it.

Sen. Nancy Rodriquez (D-Santa Fe), a co-sponsor of the bill, said Friday that the legislation provides $211.7 million for state-owned facilities, $30 million for statewide tribal projects and $276 million for local and regional projects such as community buildings, health and public safety facilities, water projects and roads.

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Most of the funding, about $477.1 million, will come from severance tax bonds, or bonds to be repaid by revenues received from oil, gas, mining and other natural resource extraction industries. Another $18.6 million is from the state general fund, while $22 million has been allocated from other state funds.

While some money received by state departments could involve projects in the local area, Chaves County entities including school districts, higher education institutions and local governments received their own funding for various projects.

Public K-12 school districts

Lake Arthur Municipal Schools has received three allocations totaling $375,000. Cooling systems, roof repairs and the construction of a safety corridor between buildings has been given $100,000. Security systems, including cameras, for school buildings was given $75,000, while perimeter fencing and security gates for the school campus were allocated $200,000.

Local governments

The city of Roswell and the towns of Dexter, Hagerman and Lake Arthur were funded almost $3.9 million for projects or equipment purchases. Chaves County was approved for three projects totaling $1.15 million.

Dexter received $736,500 for two projects, a Lake Van road improvement project for $396,500 and a water and wastewater improvement project for $340,000.

Hagerman received funding for one project and two equipment purchases. An Aberdeen Street improvement project received $200,000, while the town received $95,000 for a backhoe and $85,000 for a tractor.

Lake Arthur received $639,500 for two projects and a public safety vehicle. A water system improvement project received $439,500, while a wastewater and sewer project received $150,000. The town was given $50,000 for the vehicle.

The city for Roswell was provided $2.13 million for four projects and for vehicles. The construction of a new bridge on Garden Avenue received $889,000. The development of a new park on South Virginia Avenue received $400,000. Improvements for the Roswell Museum and Art Center received $340,000, while improvements for police buildings received $350,000. The city also was given $153,000 for law enforcement vehicles.

The $1.15 million allocated for Chaves County includes $600,000 for replacing windows at the historic Chaves County Courthouse, $350,000 to renovate a portion of the Chaves County Administrative Center to house the Pecos Valley Regional Communications Center and $200,000 for additional work to create a public walking and exercise trail near the Chaves County Administrative Center.

Higher Education

Six projects at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell have been funded for more than $2.84 million. The largest project is $2,475,000 for repairs and upgrades for restrooms and sewer systems. Also funded were $135,000 for a new fiber optic backbone to serve the campus; $125,000 for simulation manikins for health science programs; $65,000 for equipment for automotive maintenance technology programs; $25,000 for sheet metal shears for welding programs; and $20,000 for lab equipment for science programs.

New Mexico Military Institute has been allocated $825,000 for infrastructure improvements related to health and safety, including sewer upgrades.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.