Mayor Vetoes 2015 Capital Improvement Measure
In a Feb. 17, 2014, letter to City Council President Ken Sanchez, Mayor Berry exercised his veto authority to R-14-11, "Establishing Priorities For The 2015 Capital Improvements Plan; Defining the Criteria; Allocating Amounts For Different Purposes Within the 2015 General Obligation Bond Program." The Albuquerque City Council approved the measure Feb. 3, 2014, on a 5-3 vote.
Message from the Mayor
From Mayor Berry's letter to Councilor Sanchez:
"The reason for my veto is as follows. The City's financial advisor, Paul Cassidy, testified before the City Council at its February 3rd, 2014 meeting that final property valuations will not be available from the County Assessor until October. Given the actual decrease in valuations experienced by the City in the recent past, it is important that we be careful not to be too optimistic about future growth in valuations without additional data.
"Consequently, RBC Capital Markets has concluded that they cannot support the authorization of general obligation bond authority for this next bond cycle in excess of $110,000,000 without more current tax base growth data. Whereas fiscal responsibility is of the utmost importance to the City of Albuquerque and my Administration, I agree with their assessment at this time and am therefore exercising my veto authority to R-14-11.
"While I fully support Workforce Housing it would be imprudent to authorize the sale of general obligation bonds during the 2015 bond cycle in excess of $110,000,000 for any projects at this time because the potential over-reach could further reduce future bond cycles and continue to starve our City’s capital program. I suggest we revisit this additional authorization after we have better information this fall.
"In closing, I would like to point out that this is just the latest example of the consequences of the City shifting a significant amount of property tax mils and associated revenues into the general fund from 2004 through the budget prior to my taking office in 2009. Many important projects, including workforce housing, road repairs, critical infrastructure and quality of life projects have suffered due to the resulting decrease in our capital program from these property taxes being shifted into the growth of city government.
"We were recently able to bond $50 million dollars for the Paseo Del Norte and I-25 improvements because the City Council authorized shifting $3 million dollars of recurring funds back into this critical infrastructure project. As we look to the future we will need to shift more of these revenues back into our capital program where they belong if we are going to maintain our beautiful city at the levels it needs and future generations deserve. I hope that I can count on the City Council's support for these efforts"