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Cash-strapped New Mexico county asks city for $150K in aid

April 8, 2018

GRANTS, N.M. (AP) — A financially troubled New Mexico county is asking its largest city to help fund its sheriff’s office.

Cibola County formally asked the city of Grants last week for money to keep its sheriff’s office operating for the rest of the year, the Gallup Independent reported.

Cibola Board of Commissioners Chairman Robert Armijo and Sheriff Tony Mace pleaded with Grants City Council to give them $150,000 to keep the sheriff’s office running.

“That includes salary, overtime, replenishing the vacant positions, equipment, uniforms - just everything that encompasses our day-to-day operations,” Mace said.

Grants Mayor Martin “Modey” Hicks said the request is not a loan but a “donation.”

“They don’t have no money to pay us back,” Hicks told city councilors. He directed City Manager Laura Jaramillo to check with the finance department and see whether they can swing the funds this fiscal year.

The request comes as the cash-strapped Cibola County is in “crisis mode” after years of overspending and the recent discovery that it sent a bounced check to the for-profit prison company CoreCivic.

The county also is liquidating $3 million from a money market account with the Bank of New Mexico.

The financial outlook in the coming year appears bleak, with tax revenues down and the county already tapping its reserves.

The city wants to help the Sheriff’s Office so it will look at the request, Hicks said. But in August 2017, the county, the city and Village of Milan all took unexpected and, as yet, unexplained cuts from the state in gross receipts tax.

“The $733,000 tax hit we took is killing us. It’s still hurting us bad,” Hicks said.

The city also spent a lot of money this fiscal year to complete its new library, George Hanosh Bridge and other projects.

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Information from: Gallup Independent, http://www.gallupindependent.com

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