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Mayor Tim Keller Gives First State of the City Address, Marks First-Year Progress, Announces New Initiatives for Most Pressing Challenges

Invites community to join in as part of One Albuquerque movement

January 12, 2019

Mayor Tim Keller today delivered his first State of the City address at a community celebration where he marked the progress his administration has made during the first year in office and detailed new efforts to address Albuquerque’s most pressing challenges. In the Mayor’s ongoing push to turn city government inside out, he gave the address as part of a free event with live music from local artists, food trucks, pet adoptions, and other fun activities for families.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Congresswoman Debra Haaland, City Councilors, the Mayor’s executive team, and department directors were in attendance. An estimated one thousand residents joined the festivities at the National Hispanic Cultural Center and hundreds more watched at viewing parties in each quadrant of the city.

“After a decade of rising crime, a stagnant economy and a lack of opportunities for kids, Albuquerque was a city at a crossroads,” stated Mayor Keller. “Burqueños chose to take responsibility for our problems and take back control of our future. Last year we brought focus and urgency to our most pressing problems. We’re making progress but it is going to be a long road ahead; and we can’t do this alone It’s going to take all of us coming together as individuals and as governments, from all across the state to help the Duke City.”

Public Safety

Mayor Keller’s top priority since taking office has been to tackle crime from all sides in Albuquerque. That involved restructuring Albuquerque Police Department to put more resources out on the streets and appointing new leadership to change the culture within the department. In the past year, APD’s recruitment efforts have put the department on track to hire 100 new officers. As a result of APD’s efforts, for the first time in nearly a decade, crime is finally trending down, including a 31 percent reduction in auto theft and a 10 percent reduction in homicides. Mayor Keller stated that the common thread of many of the crimes is gun violence. In 2019, APD will strategically focus on keeping guns out of the wrong hands and continue to implement constitutional, community policing by building partnerships with neighborhoods, churches, and business owners.

Homelessness

Prior to Mayor Keller’s administration, the city did not have a team specifically charged with addressing homelessness. Mayor Keller created a new division on housing and homelessness in the Family and Community Services Department. The City is focusing on targeted solutions, such as expanding access to housing vouchers to help people experiencing homelessness transition into longer-term housing. In 2019, the City will work with partners to open the first centrally-located shelter that will be open year-round and offer services like health care and case management.

Economy

Since the Great Recession, Albuquerque struggled to fully recover from stagnant growth over the past decade. Early in the first year, Mayor Keller’s administration rolled out an economic development plan that capitalizes on the city’s strengths and is focused on building an economy that works for everyone. In addition to landing game-changers like Netflix, the City is supporting the Albuquerque economy with buy local efforts. City departments have systematically swapped out over 400 out-of-state contracts to keep taxpayers dollars here. The City has also taken back control of the historic Rail Yards and is partnering with CNM to be the first anchor tenant in 40 years, bringing a film school to the iconic site. Other efforts are focused on growing international business in Albuquerque, supporting the creative economy that is a huge part of Albuquerque’s identity, and being smart about the businesses we’re recruiting to the city.

Standing Up for Kids

Mayor Keller prioritized standing up for kids and making sure every child in the city has access to opportunities to stay safe and engaged outside of school. To that end, several City departments have increased enrollment in before-school, after-school, and summer programs. With investments by City Council, the City has been able to bring back teen nights, extend the hours of swimming pools for working families, and creating new youth programs at Parks and Recreation and Family and Community Services. Additionally, the Keller administration is taking back our public spaces so they’re safe for kids and families, which led to the creation of the S.H.A.R.P. Program, a collaboration of multiple City departments to more efficiently respond to reports of needles in our parks and other public spaces. At today’s event, Mayor Keller announced a Kids Cabinet to bring together representative from the education system, nonprofits, faith communities and public safety partners. The Kids Cabinet will help the City fill the gaps in access to opportunities, literacy, nutrition and safety.

Sustainability

One of the first actions Mayor Keller took when coming into office was to sign the Paris Climate Agreement and set a goal of getting the City to a net zero energy bill, meaning the City would receive 100 percent of its energy needs from renewable energy sources. Together with PNM, the City is on track to increase its solar energy usage from four percent to 58 percent and is working to replace old light bulbs with LED and installing solar panels on City buildings. The Solid Waste Department is also working on innovative ways to decrease contamination of recycled items. Mayor Keller announced that Albuquerque won an award from Bloomberg Philanthropies that will enable the City to reach its goal of using 100% renewable energy by 2022.

Equity and Inclusion

Mayor Keller has made it a priority to embrace the rich cultural heritage of the people of Albuquerque, which led to the creation of the Office of Equity and Inclusion to look at everything the City does through an equity lens. To that end, one of the first pieces of legislation the Mayor signed was to affirm Albuquerque as an immigrant friendly city. Additionally, the City has updated its sexual harassment policy and made training mandatory for all City employees. In the coming year, Mayor Keller has instructed all City departments to ensure that City resources are distributed to every part of the city.

Mayor Keller closed his first State of the City address with a call to action for every resident of Albuquerque, urging them to become part of the One Albuquerque movement.

For video of the speech and photos from the day’s events, click here: www.cabq.gov/sotc