New Mexico's Capital Dilemma

About New Mexico's Capital Dilemma

New Mexico's method of allocating money for capital outlay projects is unique.

It involves a certain level of long-term planning, especially for state agencies. But it also involves allocations by individual lawmakers to local agencies that aren't always part of that planning.

The projects, funded by either severance tax or general obligation bonds, range from as little as $500 to tens of millions of dollars. But little oversight is given to the majority of projects that are less than $1 million.

So New Mexico In Depth and its partners are examining state-funded capital outlay projects large and small, from senior center equipment to water projects, from new buildings to vehicles. This website, which allows New Mexicans to explore project details, is part of that examination.

The data source

The data on this site comes from New Mexico’s Department of Finance and Administration's Capital Project management system.

The data is current as of June 23. We hope to update it periodically in the future.

New Mexico In Depth reporters and reporters at partner media outlets also will supplement this information in the future with photos and more detailed descriptions. And we’ll link to stories from our partners.

About the data

Projects included are from 2010 through 2014. These projects were originally funded with severance tax bonds and general obligation bonds. Reauthorized projects from such funds also are included.

Not included are tribal infrastructure projects, GRIP transportation project or voter-rejected 2010 general obligation bond projects.

The budgeted amount for each project in the database represents either the original amount appropriated by the state or the reauthorized amount listed in the DFA data. Reauthorization usually occurs when the money earmarked for a project is not spent during the time period prescribed when the Legislature originally funded the project. In some instances, reauthorized projects have no amount because money ended up being spent under the prior appropriation.

The DFA data includes several different expended amounts and balances. Following is an emailed description of those values from DFA spokeswoman Julia Ruetten:

“There are three different sections in CPMS: SHARE/BOF Data, State Agency Data, and Local Data. SHARE/BOF Data comes directly from the Board of Finance and the SHARE systems. State Agency and Local Data is provided by the state agency and the local entity for their respective sections. The balances for these sections may be different from one another because they are tracking different pieces of data and different points in the project. For instance, local entities pay and then request reimbursement from the state. State agencies reimburse local entities on their requests, and then they submit “draws” from the Board of Finance. The local entity may show expenditures pending reimbursement and the same is true for state agencies. All of the information is accurate. However, the data in the different sections (SHARE/BOF, State Agency Data, and Local Data) may be from different phases in a project.

“The data in CPMS from SHARE/BOF is downloaded directly from those two systems. State agencies and local entities complete their respective areas of data. Local entities are required to enter information monthly as required by the Interagency Grant Agreement. State agencies by policy are required to enter information quarterly. We rely on the state agencies to ensure that the local data is submitted and correct.

“In addition to CPMS, it is possible that each agency may utilize their own tracking system.”

New Mexico In Depth decided to use the basic expended amount and current balance because it offered the least discrepancy in analyzing the data.

To be specific, of more than 2,800 projects, only 449 projects failed to add up to the state amount budgeted when summing the balance, expenditures, art in public places (a certain portion of large projects goes to pay for public art) and reversion amounts using the fields New Mexico In Depth used. In virtually all of these instances the difference was less than $1.

About the project

Joining New Mexico In Depth in examining the capital projects system are the Las Cruces Sun-News, the Farmington Daily Times and the Taos News.