Mayor Berry Submits Balanced, Fiscally Responsible Budget
Albuquerque- Today, Mayor Richard J. Berry presented a balanced and fiscally responsible budget for Fiscal Year 2016 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 $505 million for FY16, representing less than 1% over the FY15 budget. The FY16 Proposed Budget is centered on the following priorities: Public Safety, Critical Infrastructure Improvements, Economic Development/Job Creation, Homeless Services, and a Fifth Consecutive Year of Appropriations Targeted to Salary Increases for many City Employees.
“This budget is intentionally designed to bolster opportunities and quality of life for all our citizens, while making the City of Albuquerque a top notch organization in which to build a successful career in public service,” said Mayor Richard J. Berry. “This proposed budget is structurally balanced, bolsters reserves by an additional $1 million, and addresses the highest priority needs of our community.”
The current version of the budget features:
- No tax increases, no pay cuts, and sufficient funding for a 1% wage increase for transit drivers, clerical, blue collar, and J-series employees. This budget also includes a reserve equivalent to a 1% pay increase for firefighters, the same 1% (not yet negotiated) that was reserved in the FY/15 Approved Budget.
- Public Safety- $4.7 million is added to the Police budget aimed at efforts to implement and go beyond the U.S. Department of Justice Settlement Agreement. Areas of focus include recruitment, crisis intervention, misconduct complaint investigations, training, development of policies and procedures, and community engagement and oversight.
- $1.4 million for the Court Monitor
- $440,000 for Training
- $2.9 million is support staff, material, and software to support the implementation of changes
- $1.7 million in funding for continuation of the police longevity/retention pay program aimed at keeping seasoned officers in the Albuquerque Police Department.
- No reductions in funding for Social Service programs – totaling $17.9 million from the General Fund.
- Funding for programs started under this administration including: Heading Home, Homework Diner, Running Start for Careers, and International Baccalaureate.
- New this year is funding for the Mission Graduate run by United Way and funding for an Anti-Truancy Initiative that will be matched by funds from APS.
- Additional money to pay debt service on $9 million of new bonds for street and median infrastructure improvements.
- Additional money to pay debt service on $6 million of additional bonds for a new Library/Community Center in the International District, a Westside visitors’ center, and recreational facilities in the East Gateway area. In FY/15 we added $2.6 million for debt service on $36 million in bonds to be sold this month. This addition increases the bond amount from $36 million to $42 million.
- Reserves are increased by $200 thousand for the 5th year in a row. The FY/16 budget now includes $1 million of reserves on top of the required $42 million (1/12th of appropriations).
- One-time funding for the majority of cultural events included in the current year’s budget.
- With a new, state-of-the-art library open at Central and Unser, funding for nearby Westgate and Alamosa libraries has been repurposed within this budget.
- Continued funding ($1 million) for job creation efforts in Economic Development.
- No increase in the cost of Health Benefits to either the City or the employees.
“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 16 Proposed Budget can be accessed online at ABQbudget.cabq.gov.