By Kathleen Sloan
Sierra Vista Hospital got about $1.2 million and then about $1.3 million in capital outlay funds in 2008 and 2009. SVH CEO Domenica Rush got extensions for the expenditure of both grants. But the first grant took a hit, spearheaded by Gov. Susana Martinez’ search for money.
House Bill 190 re-appropriated severance tax bond money “from prior years” as an “emergency” action.
County Manager Janet Porter Carrejo was told that Chairman of the Legislative Finance Committee John Arthur Smith knew nothing about the governor’s office retraction of these funds. It is Smith who is largely responsible for getting the grants for the hospital.
It was hidden in House Bill 190, section 89:
“Truth or Consequences Hospital – Change to HTRC/HB 190, Page 37, Rio Rancho Regional Park Facility – Extend Time – Severance Tax Bonds. $197,999 of the unexpended balance of the appropriation to the local government division in Subsection 85 of Section 21 of Chapter 92 of Laws 2008 for a hospital in Truth or Consequences in Sierra County shall not be expended for the original purpose, but is changed to plan, design, construct and equip the all-inclusive regional park facility in Rio Rancho in Sandoval County. The time of expenditure is extended through fiscal year 2014.”
That’s right. A park is taking precedence over a hospital.
Carrejo informed SVH Joint Powers Committee members at their Wednesday, March 28 meeting of the $197,999 cut. And the remaining funds from the first grant –about $700,000– must be spent by June 30, the end of the fiscal year.
CEO Rush said the hospital has until the end of Fiscal Year 2013 to spend the second capital outlay grant of $1.3 million.
Rush said there would be absolutely no problem spending the money on time.