Putting together next year's municipal budget will be manageable—but not easy, according to the city's top bean-counter. Gerald Romero, budget director, said gross receipts are down. The 2012 budget was put together projecting growth in gross receipts tax revenue. Romero said with eight more months left in this fiscal year (which ends June 30) there is still hope for retail sales to rebound.
Councilor Ken Sanchez encouraged city residents to shop at local stores this holiday season. “Invest back into your community,” he said.
The Council also postponed the sale of two of the city’s oldest fire stations. Councilor Isaac Benton proposed taking a little more time to evaluate whether it would be better to find another civic purpose for the buildings.
|Issue||Council's Take||Reporter's Take|
|On ImpactWestside development costs are higher than they are in other parts of Albuquerque. Impact fees help pay for roads, parks and basic infrastructure in new residential areas. A measure before the Council would establish a standard citywide fee. It would be implemented gradually.||Councilors Trudy Jones, Brad Winter, Dan Lewis, Michael Cook and Don Harris approved the new ordinance, saying the system that’s in place stunts retail development on the Westside. Councilors Benton, Debbie O’Malley and Rey Garduño said it should cost more to develop areas where there is no infrastructure beforehand. Ken Sanchez, who represents the Southwest Mesa, sided with the Republican councilors and agreed that the impact fees were unfair. The final vote was 6-3 in favor of the measure’s passage.||It’s arithmetic, like former President Bill Clinton said in an interview about the 2012 election. It generally costs a city, town or village more money when developers build along outer boundaries where there aren’t any roads or waterlines yet. Higher impact fees in brand-new neighborhoods benefit the residents, who will enjoy parks, fire and police stations, and schools sooner rather than later. This reduction hurts the whole city. Without the correct impact fees coming from the Westside, basic infrastructure costs will have to come out of city coffers.|
|One Fell SwoopThe consent agenda items included 15 appointments to city boards and commissions, including Sherman McCorkle to the Development Commission, Mark Jarmie to the Accountability in Government Oversight Committee and Janet M. Thompson to the Arts Board. Engineering consultants were approved for three separate projects: bikeway improvements for University Boulevard, landscaping for Vista del Norte Park and improvements for 12th Street from Menaul to I-40.||Garduño pulled an item off the consent agenda relating to $102,000 in funding for the Heroin Awareness Initiative. He questioned why the Media Arts Charter School was cut out of the bid for this money. Councilors Harris and Sanchez agreed that they too recalled the charter school was supposed to get some cash. This item was deferred until past meeting minutes could be checked to see what the understanding was about the school’s involvement. The rest of the consent agenda passed unanimously.||From the looks of city documents, The Heroin Awareness Committee and Jennifer Weiss, as a private consultant, were paid $50,000 to come up with a plan for an adolescent treatment center. Another $50,000 was allocated to Safeteen New Mexico and Christopher Productions to produce a documentary about the dangers of opiates and heroin use among area teens. Another $2,000 was given to the city’s Department of Family and Community Services for indirect costs. It’s probably a good idea to take a look at how the money was to be spent.|