(This article was originally published on July 14, 2014)
A ton of public money vanished. It wasn’t misplaced or stolen, it was simply squandered.
State legislators would like New Mexicans to believe they appropriate funds for the public good. But, in this case, a lot of cash was simply tossed away and forgotten.
It started with the Edgewood pound, a little storage shed in the village, 33 miles east of Albuquerque. Domestic animals picked up within 50 square miles would be taken to the tiny makeshift animal shelter.
Currently the small building houses wayward cats and a lonely Chihuahua. In another building across the street there are a handful of dogs.
“We just do not have an adequate facility to take care of all the animals,” town administrator Kay Davis McGill said. “We’re constantly running out of space and they are not getting the proper physical care that we should give them.”
In an effort to get a new facility built, former State Representative Kathy McCoy and State Senator Sue Wilson Beffort sponsored a $150,000 legislative appropriation in 2007. The money was to “plan, design and construct” a new animal shelter in Edgewood.
Armed with the legislative money, Edgewood obtained land, hired an architect and began planning for the community’s new animal facility.
Architect Jonathon Craig was directed to design a state of the art animal shelter that could accommodate not only stray animals from Edgewood, but the entire east mountain area as well.
Craig produced conceptual drawings and a master plan that would cost Edgewood $10 million.
That was six years ago. However, no matter how hard you look you won’t find the animal shelter. In fact, it never got built.
With only $150,000 to pay the architect, Edgewood had no choice but to pull the plug on the legislative funded project.
Now retired, former State Representative McCoy admits there is nothing to show for the $150,000 appropriation.
When asked is it fair to say all that money appropriated by the legislature for this project was simply wasted, McCoy responded “I would have to agree on that.” McCoy acknowledged, at the time of the legislative project, she really didn’t know how much a new animal shelter would cost.
“I didn’t have the faintest idea. And admittedly I probably should have,” McCoy said.
Today all the drawings and plans for the building that should have been but never was, have been boxed up and taken to an offsite storage locker. There they will sit gathering dust until sometime in the future when the box will be tossed in the trash.