Officials propose capital outlay projects

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

Not unlike youngsters lining up for a chance to sit on Santa’s knee, local government officials took their turn Monday presenting wish lists to area legislators for capital outlay projects.

“We’ve got a good idea of what county and municipality entities need now,” Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, said following the meeting. “We know we’re going to have a tighter year than last year but this helps.”

Ingle explained that a few years ago the Legislature combined capital outlay requests into one bill and asked governmental entities to submit a standardized capital outlay request form. Ingle along with Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs and Rep. Jose Campos, D-Santa Rosa, each had a large binder with those request forms in front of them as representatives from the city of Portales, Roosevelt County, school districts and smaller municipalities made their pitch.

Ingle said about 90 percent of the request forms can be turned in directly to legislative staff to be drafted into the bill.

“It’s a lot like a committee hearing,” Campos said of the meeting format that began last year. “It brings everybody together listing their priorities and in the course of talking about projects with everyone in the room we sometimes find other solutions.”

One of the many projects that were pitched was Dora Town Clerk Becky Fraze and Dora Fire Chief Paul Luscombe’s plan to build a substation for the Dora Fire Department 3 1/2 miles south of that town.

“Our volume of calls has really increased over the last five years,” Fraze said. “Last year, we had over 100 calls. We don’t know if this is a trend that is going to continue or what.”

Luscombe said with changes over the years in the type of equipment the department keeps on hand they have simply run out of room in the original station. He also pointed out that if both stations were built and could be designated as main stations, regular funding for operation could essentially be doubled in Dora.

Small county school districts pitched everything from a football stadium at Dora to athletic field lights in Floyd and parking lot paving in Elida. They also brought along Patti Harrelson, director of Regional Education Center 6, to make a pitch for a plan to connect the rural schools in the three-county region she serves to a system of online classrooms.

Roosevelt County lined its priorities out as $800,000 for roads, $585,000 for fairgrounds and $800,000 for courthouse renovations.

The city of Portales listed sustainable water supply improvements of $2.41 million, swimming pool improvements for $480,000, building improvements including the Memorial Building of $165,000, and streets at $2.4 million as its priorities.