Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

City EMS in line for federal funding

About $4.5 million in federal money may soon be on its way to eastern New Mexico.

The Omnibus Appropriations Spending bill passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate over the weekend and is expected to become law, a press release from U.S. Sen., Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said.

The Clovis Fire Department was allotted $400,000 for emergency medical service equipment, in a bill approved by the senate over the weekend. With an annual budget of $5.1 million, Fire Chief Ray Westerman said the money is important.

“Anytime you get an influx of that kind of funding it certainly helps your operation,” Westerman said.

EMS Director Karen Burns said the department has plans to purchase two new fully equipped ambulances at a cost of about $150,000 each.

Among the department’s nine vehicles, four have more than 150,000 miles, Burns said, and the city could have new vehicles by mid-summer.

“I never anticipated getting that kind of funding for Clovis Fire Department but we are really thrilled to have it in this area to enhance the service we can provide our citizens,” she said.

Clovis City Manager Raymond Mondragon said the city began providing emergency services to Cannon Air Force Base about two years ago, a major reason for receiving the money.

“It will certainly go a long, long way especially with some of the deficits we are facing,” Mondragon said.

Westerman said the Clovis Fire Department serves about 10,000 more people since becoming the primary emergency provider to Cannon.

Other funding from the bill includes:

• $2.35 million for road construction to the Southwest Cheese Plant being built.

• $250,000 for the Clovis wastewater lagoon to assist in the expansion of the treatment plant.

• $1 million for a highway overpass on New Mexico Highway 467 in Roosevelt County.

• $500,000 for Eastern New Mexico University to purchase telecommunications equipment for its communications program.

All funding is subject to a 0.8 percent across the board reduction. The bill will now go before President Bush for consideration.

“Congress is under continual pressure to limit domestic spending,” Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., said in a press release. “But these appropriations are within the perimeters of the budgetary pie we had to divvy up this year.”