A move to provide regular funding for facility work on county courthouses across New Mexico is up for consideration in the New Mexico State Legislature in the final hours of its 2020 session.
Senate Bill 244, which previously won the approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is asking for an appropriation of some $250 million to be spread out between fiscal years 2021 and 2024 for selected projects.
According to the legislation proposed by Senator Ron Griggs, the funding will specifically be used to build, remodel, or renovate the courthouses.
The money would be appropriated from the state’s general fund to the Department of Finance and Administration’s Local Government Division, which would then send the funding to qualifying counties.
The legislation will not apply to the purchase of any land or buildings.
As proposed, $100 million would be available for courthouse projects in the first fiscal year, with $50 million to be tapped for each fiscal year from 2022 to 2024.
Currently just over $6.3 million is available for magistrate and district court improvement projects, with $2.2 million targeting the planning and design of a new magistrate court in Santa Fe.
According to a fiscal impact report done by the Legislative Finance Committee on Griggs’ bill, the projects are currently “vetted using a variety of metrics,” including the criticality of need, feasibility, cost-benefit and other factors.
The New Mexico State Legislature will wrap up its business at noon on February 20.
By Garry Boulard
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