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Mayor Keller Proposes Recovery Budget for Albuquerque in Coming Year

Balanced budget prioritizes public safety, reinvigorates the economy, strengthens the public health safety net.

April 1, 2021

Mayor Tim Keller’s proposed annual budget for Fiscal Year 2022, sent to the City Council today, sets the stage for Albuquerque’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and fully funds top priorities like public safety without raising taxes. The $1.2 billion budget is targeted to reinvigorate the economy by supporting businesses and working families, develop infrastructure, and strengthen the City’s public health safety net.

An article in The New York Times found that Albuquerque was second only to Boston in terms of fiscal strength going into the pandemic. In response to the crisis, the Keller administration shifted thousands of City workers into COVID-related functions: supporting the most vulnerable like seniors and the unhoused, helping businesses and workers stay afloat, and keeping families in their homes.

“The pandemic revealed our deep resilience more than ever,” said Mayor Keller. “While other cities are celebrating just making it through, we are investing in a recovery that leaves no one behind. This recovery budget puts public safety first so we can continue to hire new APD officers and invest in crime fighting technology, invests in helping businesses re-open and attract new jobs, and makes the largest investment this city has ever made in solutions for the unhoused. We are poised to lead Albuquerque into a year of recovery.”

The budget aims to take Albuquerque into COVID-19 recovery with reserves that remained intact throughout the public health crisis and strategic cost saving measures over the past year and built into next year’s budget. 

“Over the last year we’ve taken steps to ensure resident services were not compromised, and that the budget remained balanced in a way that did not negatively affect City employees or lead to increased taxes,” said Chief Financial Officer, Sanjay Bhakta. “We were successful in holding down expenses where we needed to, and through prudent budgeting we’re able to continue the momentum of innovative investment in the community.”

Key investments in this year’s budget include the following:

Boosting Public Safety

  • Public safety is a top priority of the Keller Administration and accounts for over 45% of the City’s General Fund budget, or about $326.9 million.
  • Funding for 1,100 full-time sworn officers, with an additional 40 officers funded by Community Oriented Policing Services grants.
  • Long overdue investments in key technologies for modern crime fighting, such as gunshot detection technology.
  • $4.4 million expansion to fund the newly-established Albuquerque Community Safety Department.
  • Funding the office of the Interim Superintendent of Police Reform and Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Sylvester Stanley, giving APD the independence and focus to address DOJ compliance.
  • Funding Albuquerque Fire Rescue to increase outreach to the community, provide additional resources to tactical EMS teams, and increase support for Office of Emergency Management operations.
  • Fully funding nuisance abatement and boosting security at City parks to make neighborhoods safer.
  • Fully funding service contracts for mental health, substance abuse, early intervention and prevention programs, domestic violence shelters, sexual assault services, health and social service centers, and services for abused, neglected, and abandoned youth.

Reinvigorating the Economy

  • $3 million investment in the Local Economic Development Act fund, which has helped the City retain and attract businesses like Netflix, NBC Universal, Los Poblanos, and Build With Robots.
  • $350,000 to support the City’s hosting of the USA Cycling National Championships, which will mark the return of national sporting events and build on Albuquerque’s success with the Senior Olympics.
  • Full recurring funding for the Small Business Office, which has provided technical assistance to help local businesses access COVID-19 relief programs, navigate permitting processes, and connect to resources for starting up and scaling up.
  • Investments to help businesses reopen and events come online again, including online ticketing systems.
  • Increasing permitting staff in the Planning Department to ensure that major new projects like Netflix and Orion can meet their construction and development schedules.
  • Full funding for the BankOn Albuquerque program, a partnership with financial institutions and the FDIC to help residents get banked and avoid costly payday loan and check cashing services.

Workforce Support Through Youth Programs

  • Fully funding general fund support for the Head Start program, including additional funding to maintain COVID-safe student-teacher ratios.
  • Investing in continued Youth Connect system of youth programs before and after school and during the summer to keep youth safe and engaged.
  • Building out programming at Balloon Fiesta Park.

Historical Investments in City Homelessness Solutions

  • $4 million in recurring funding and $2 million in one-time funding for supportive housing programs in the City’s Housing First model.
  • $4.7 million net to operate the City’s first Gateway Center at the Gibson Medical Facility, that includes expenses for facility andprogram operations.
  • $24 million in Emergency Rental Assistance from the federal government, which the City will make available in partnership with the State.
  • $500,000 to fund Albuquerque Street Connect, a highly effective program that focuses on people experiencing homelessness who use the most emergency services and care, to establish ongoing relationships that result in permanent supportive housing.
  • $214,000 to adequately staff the senior meal home delivery program, which provided nearly 800,000 meals to seniors since the pandemic started.
  • Expanding the public health division of the Family and Community Services Department.

Pushing Sustainability Throughout the City

  • Expansion of sustainability efforts housed in the Environmental Health Department, which includes overseeing those continued capital investments.
  • Continue our progress towards achieving the goals set out in the American Climate Cities Challenge, including projects that will contribute to an estimated total of 40 million metric tons of carbon emissions reductions.
  • Investing over $600,000 to fund the next phase of the urban forestry initiative, to care for the existing urban forest, plant thousands of new trees and contributing to carbon-neutrality.

Helping our Workforce with Reasonable Cost of Living Adjustments

  • City of Albuquerque employees did not receive a cost of living adjustment last year, and frontline workers who were part of the COVID-19 response did not receive any hazard pay. In recognition of their hard work and continued increases in cost of living and healthcare premiums, the Keller budget proposes a 2% cost of living adjustment this year, subject to bargaining units’ negotiations.

This budget also includes $11 million to purchase the Bernalillo County interest in the City Hall building and make renovations, as they prepare to move to a new space.