Mayor Richard J. Berry presented to City Councilors February 12, 2010 a list of budget actions that will result in a $19 million savings for the current fiscal year.
Shortly after taking office in December and learning the city was facing a more than $12 million shortfall in the current fiscal year, Mayor Berry initiated a directive to reduce city spending and save more than $19 million. Part of the Berry Plan was to seek legislation to adjust the city’s budget by more than $7.5 million. The council unanimously approved the legislation last month.
When he announced his plan, Berry also ordered all of his department heads to cut spending by two percent. Recently, Berry’s department heads reported to the Mayor that they finalized a list of cuts that will save an additional $11.8 million. Those savings were presented to councilors Friday
“I want to be clear that although we have come up with a plan to solve our current projected shortfall, we are still facing a projected $54 million shortfall for the next fiscal year,” Berry said. “We still have a lot of work ahead to solve the city’s fiscal shortfalls.”
Among the savings presented to council include:
• Postponing the hiring of the majority of the 294 vacancies in City Hall, which is estimated to save the city more than $7 million this fiscal year. Those positions include three associate or deputy department directors.
• Reduce APD’s spending by more than $ 1 million, which would result in fewer tact plans citywide but with more emphasis specific crime trends. Also, APD will be adjusting schedules and procedures to reduce overtime expenses where possible as per the collective bargaining agreement.
• Using City workers to maintain the BIG I landscaping instead of using a contractor. This will save $90,000.
• Decrease the length of time summer temporary workers are employed by a few weeks. This will save more than $700,000 in the Departments of Family and Community Services and Parks & Recreation. These cuts will not impact core summer programs.
• Delaying the construction of the Mesa del Sol Fire Station by seven months, which will save $378,000.
• Using $100,000 in non general funds to pay for the citywide channel repairs
• Reduce the number of contracted lobbyists by using in-house staff. This will save $120,000
• Restructure the city’s summer events by moving certain festivals to different locations that are more cost effective, generate more revenue and business for local vendors. The City will use local talent to perform at the events. This will save $99,000.
• Increase legal department fees. This will increase revenues by $300,000.
• Conserve water at city parks saving $240,000.
• Eliminate some ISD service contracts totaling $200,000.
• Delay the start of a rescue unit at Fire Station No. 8 for several months saving $380,000.
Previously, Berry made several administrative cuts of his own. He cut the salaries of his appointed positions by more than 13 percent, kept the Albuquerque Police Department at 1,100 officers and put a stop to the wrapping of city vehicles with elaborate graphics.
Several factors have caused the budget shortfall. Gross receipt taxes fell 8.1 percent in the first six months of the current fiscal year when compared to the previous year. Financial advisors have predicted a $54.6 million shortfall in fiscal year 2011 which begins in July. City financial advisors say that Berry’s cuts will help address the 2011 shortfall.