No Tax Increases, No Layoffs and Taxpayer Value are Fundamentals of This Year’s Budget
March 29, 2013
Albuquerque- Today, Mayor Richard J. Berry will present a balanced operating budget for Fiscal Year 2014 to City Councilors. Mayor Berry commended all the city staff, his department directors, and the budget department for their role in, once again, in working with his office to deliver a balanced and fiscally responsible budget that provides tremendous services to the community. The general fund budget is proposed at $480.9 million for FY14, up just 1.1% over the original FY13 budget.
The original Five-Year Forecast projected a shortfall of about $18 million; that can be compared to the $90 million deficit that the administration faced during the first several months in office. Including this proposed budget, the Finance Department says the Mayor has avoided a total of $159.8 million in taxpayer expenditures through careful and responsible budgeting. During Mayor Berry’s time in office the economy has seen some of the toughest economic times of this generation, yet services to the community have remained extremely high and the Mayor has been able to avoid layoffs as have been seen around the country.
"Every year we continue to run a more efficient local government while investing in public safety and our community. We strive to be good stewards of taxpayer resources. I believe Albuquerque’s financial management practices are strong, as evidenced by the AAA bond rating received by Standard and Poor’s. I’d like to commend all of our employees and staff as a whole for their dedication to this great city," said Mayor Berry. "As the economy continues to bring challenges; balancing the budget is no easy feat, but it’s a challenge that we take seriously and we are making great progress."
The current version of the budget features:
• No tax increases, no pay cuts and no layoffs
• Funding for 1% raises across the board for all employees (although Mayor Berry has excluded himself from a raise)
• The reduction of 40 vacant positions, valued at $2.1 million – many of these positions have been vacant for a period of time – therefore citizens will not notice a decrease in services from these positional cuts
• The hiring of more than 150 previously vacant positions over the coming months that will increase services to the community
• Continued funding for Running Start for Careers, the high school retention and workforce development program and the International Baccalaureate Program at APS and $3 million for ABQ the Plan
• Funding for personnel software that will expedite the screening and hiring process of applicants, saving tax payer dollars
The MATRIX study, which observed city operations and formulated recommendations regarding efficiency has been partially incorporated into this year’s budget.