Entrepreneurism and Public Safety Are Key Budget Priorities
April 1, 2014
Albuquerque- Today, Mayor Richard J. Berry presented a balanced and fiscally responsible budget for Fiscal Year 2015 to City Councilors. The budget proposal allows the city to continue to provide excellent services to the community at an outstanding value to the taxpayer. The general fund budget is proposed at $496 million for FY15, representing a 3.3% over the FY14 budget, which is dedicated substantially to public safety, community outcomes and job creation initiatives, representative of the mayor’s top priorities for his administration.
“As evidenced by our latest AAA bond rating from Standard and Poor’s, our financial management practices are strong, and this budget once again reflects our commitment to good stewardship of taxpayer resources. Additionally the budget represents my priorities for enhancing public safety, positive community outcomes and focusing on diversifying our local economy through entrepreneurship, job creation and smart investments,” said Mayor Berry.
The current version of the budget features:
- No tax increases, no pay cuts and sufficient funding for a 1% increase for non-union employees and most union employees, and up to a 4% increase for police employees dependent upon negotiations (it also includes funding already approved for firefighter pay increases).
- Long term funding to allow for the sale of $30 million in bonds for critical capital infrastructure to potentially fund such projects as bus rapid transit, or infrastructure related to job creation.
- $1 million in additional funding for the Economic Development Department to carry out initiatives to diversify the economy, spur economic activity, entrepreneurism and job creation. Efforts underway include development of the “Innovation District” and collaboration with the University of New Mexico and others on commercialization of technology.
- $3 million for new police cars at APD.
- Funding for several new facilities and updates including a new state-of-the-art library at Central and Unser, new exhibit space at the Albuquerque Museum, new Insectarium and Desert Rose Garden at the BioPark as well as funding for operating acres of parks and miles of streets and storm drainage built over the past several years.
- Additional reserves, adding to the City’s fiscal soundness
- An additional $3 million for public safety including funding for key positions tied to accountability as well as $1 million set aside specifically for evaluation, training and execution of policies and reforms relating to police interaction with people living with mental illness with a focus on de-escalation and other crisis intervention strategies.
- Funding for a full time child abuse liaison, which will complement our efforts to establish a child abuse prevention task force and provide enhanced communications between the police and protective services agencies.
- Despite rapidly growing costs for other government and private entities, the city budget limits health care increases to 2.1%, the lowest it’s been in 3 years.
- An additional $1.8 million in Transit for general cost of service increases, additional security and sun van driver positions, as well as funding for repairs and maintenance.
- 59 new positions to provide services to our community in the following departments:
- 12 in Cultural Services
- 1 at Economic Development
- 4 at Parks and Recreation
- 11 at APD (as referenced previously) – 4 were added during the FY 14 fiscal year and an additional 7 will be hired in July
- 9 at Transit (as referenced previously)
- 22 at Solid Waste (2 will begin at mid-year and the total number is offset by a transfer of 7 positions from Parks and Recreation)
- The budget reflects a moderate increase in fees for additional services at our solid waste department that will be used to create dedicated median landscape maintenance crews and to fund the design and construction of a new solid waste transfer station that will create millions in savings over the coming years. It also includes a moderate increase in parking fees for the Aviation Department.
- In addition to using one-time money from prior year reversions, the budget reflects one time appropriations for fiscal year 2015 in the following categories:
- $1.5 million to fully fund replacement of KIVA building permit software
- $1.4 million for improvement projects including areas of downtown and the new Innovate ABQ
- $900 thousand to update the City’s Master Plan and Comprehensive Plan
- $600 thousand for replacement of city computers and laptops
- $165 thousand for marketing and operations of the Railyards
- $500 thousand for cultural and community activities such as Flamenco, Fusion, 516 Arts, Theater District, Black History Month, and many more cultural events and initiatives.
“I would like to thank all of our staff and directors for their contributions to this balanced and responsible budget that provides tremendous value to taxpayers while creating opportunities for a bright future for our wonderful city and our residents,” said Mayor Berry.
The FY 15 Proposed Budget can be accessed online at http://documents.cabq.gov/budget/fy15-proposed-budget.pdf