Got a Light?
By Carolyn Carlson
More sunshine is the key to illuminating shadowy government shenanigans. Councilors delayed but did not kill a proposal to shine a beam on the city’s financial business. Councilor Rey Garduño asked for expedited approval of his transparency bill at the Monday, Sept. 21 Council meeting. Some councilors agreed with Garduño, saying there was no reason to wait and they should just “get it done.” Councilor Trudy Jones and the city’s administration reminded everyone they're required to have a fiscal impact report ready for inspection when the bill comes up for approval. Garduño’s measure did not have a fiscal impact report attached yet.
With the bill, the city would have to make it quick and easy for citizens to look up city finances. (It also calls for an accessible online form for making public records requests.) Available information would include: who receives city money, amounts of all contracts and industrial revenue bonds, and who is getting tax breaks. The measure would also make it simple to find out how much money is being spent on all the city’s capital outlay projects, including those being funded with state grants. Probably the juiciest item for folks around the water cooler is a listing of all city employees considered “double dippers”—those who receive a pension from the Public Employees Retirement Association and a city salary simultaneously. Garduño wants it all completed by the end of January 2010. The bill will be heard at the Wednesday, Oct. 7 meeting.
Councilor Sally Mayer was excused from the meeting. Councilors approved a three-month moratorium on issuing any permits that allow the tearing down or building of housing in the UNM area. They also heard an interesting presentation about the Albuquerque International Sunport, supported an effort to find a use for the dying General Electric Aviation plant on South Broadway and reviewed a fiscal report on dust and noise improvements at the city’s BMX facility.
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