By Mike Cook
The City of Las Cruces’ Telshor Facility Fund (TFF) has allocated millions of dollars to benefit local nonprofits, help with the community’s emergency response to Covid-19 and provide humanitarian assistance to asylum seekers who were brought to Las Cruces in 2019.
As a special revenue fund, TFF allocations are restricted to “health-related public services for the benefit of city residents,” according to city documents. The city created the Health and Human Services Advisory Committee to evaluate proposals for funding. Committee recommendations go to the Las Cruces City Council, which makes final spending decisions. TFF is not part of the city’s general fund.
TFF was created by the city council in October 2004 after the city and Doña Ana County entered into a 40-year lease agreement with Providence Healthcare Company for the lease of Memorial Medical Center (MMC), which the city and county jointly owned.
The original fund corpus was $30 million, including $4 million held in an escrow account until 2019, city Chief Administrative Officer Barbara DeLeon said at the city council’s June 13 work session. The fund’s May 2022 market value was $37 million.
City Treasurer Erica Jacquez said her office manages 40 percent of TFF proceeds. The State Investment Council manages the other 60 percent, she said. Investment income has been about $8 million a year since 2007, which does not decrease the corpus.
“While special revenue funds are not unusual for a city to have, the source of this fund – revenue from the long-term lease of MMC – is certainly exceptional since not every community has this kind of asset or lease agreement,” DeLeon said. “The restriction that council placed upon the fund – for health-related programs and capital projects – is also particular to the priorities of council and the community. Municipalities typically do not have health departments since that is generally the purview of states and counties, so the Telshor Fund allows the city to address health needs in the community while preserving general fund expenditures for traditional city operations and services. As defined by council, the fund also provides for safety and housing needs as part of the overall initiative to address the physical, mental, developmental, emotional and social well-being of City of Las Cruces residents,” DeLeon said.
Here are some of the allocations from TFF:
- $1.075 million to help about 1,600 asylum seekers coming to Las Cruces in 2019. The city was recognized for its efforts on behalf of asylum seekers as one of 13 real-life heroes on World Humanitarian Day, Aug. 19, 2019, as reported in USA Today.
- More than $3.8 million to help with Covid emergency response, allocated to local nonprofits and businesses in the city.
- More than $5 million for the expansion of Casa de Peregrinos (CdP) emergency food program into the former Horse N Hound building on Picacho Avenue. TFF funds also have helped CdP expand food rescue and mobile pantries.
- $1.445 million to fund the city Parks and Recreation Department’s Mano y Mano day labor program, which provides part-time employment to people struggling with homelessness.
- $1.2 million in a loan to La Piñon Sexual Assault Recovery Services.
- $1.155 million to Mesilla Valley Community of Hope for its expansion.
- $361,000 to Families and Youth, inc. for its emergency youth shelter.
- More than $1.5 million to Roadrunner Food Bank to combat hunger.
- With TFF support, the Boys and Girls Club of Las Cruces has saved families $1.5 million per year in childcare expenses; programs like El Crucero and My Friends Place have provided long-term tenancy support for families; Third Judicial District Court got help leveraging a federal grant to launch a pilot veterans treatment court; and Southern New Mexico Diabetes Outreach was assisted in providing 6,000 annual diabetes tests.
- Almost $3.2 million in FY2023 TFF allocations include $1.73 to the Las Cruces Fire Department’s Mobile Integrated Health program and crisis intervention training; a match of $871,000 to the city’s public transit system for the conversion to electric buses; and $105,000 to the city Police Athletic League.
- From FY2009-18, the city allocated $300,000 annually to nonprofits for health-related services, increased to $400,000 FY2019-22 and to $600,000 FY2023-26.
- As of May 31, 100,433 people had been served by TFF funds during the current fiscal year, which ended June 30.