The recently released New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee’s Performance Report Card says that crime trends are down from previous years in Albuquerque.
The report card was released last week. It reviewed data from various state agencies to create an overall image of their performance. According to the “Public Safety” section of the report, preliminary data suggests that property crime dropped 17 percent in Albuquerque between 2017 and 2018. Violent crime has gone down by one percent during that time. Across the state, DWI incidents and prison admissions have also decreased.
According to KOB, the Albuquerque Police Department currently has over 900 officers but still needs around 300 more. Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller told reporters that attracting incoming freshman officers will allow the department to promote experienced officers to detective positions, where they can offer more toward efforts to battle violent crime, crimes against children and domestic violence.
Seven new officers were sworn in last week.
Gila Diversion Meets Resistance
State regulators are putting a multi-billion dollar plan to divert the Gila River on hold while facing criticism from environmental groups and state leaders.
The project is the result of the Arizona Water Settlement Act, passed in 2004, that allowed for water exchange between Arizona and New Mexico. In 2014, the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission voted to use federal funds provided by the legislation to divert the Gila River. According to NM Political Report, the state has already spent $15 million on the project, provided by the the US Bureau of Reclamatiotion, since that time. It has also spent $2 million in state funds.
In April, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham line-item vetoed nearly $1.7 million in New Mexico Unit funding for the project. A representative told reporters the governor had been openly against it. Last week the Silver City Sun News reported that Senator Tom Udall said, “To sacrifice the Gila to a project that the state can’t afford and that might not ever yield enough water, would be irresponsible.” The Wildlife Federation is reportedly opposing the project, voicing concerns over its environmental impact.
According to KRQE, the Interstate Stream Commission is reviewing the plan, but won't make a decision until September. Commissioners decided to spend $948,000 to continue work on an environmental impact statement that has not been publicly released.
BernCo Unveils Tiny Home Village Plans
Bernalillo County presented its plans for a tiny home community being built in southeast Albuquerque that will help homeless people transition to new homes.
According to KOB, the village will include 30 tiny homes and a community building with restrooms, showers and a kitchen. The county will be providing resources to help residents transition out of the village and into permanent homes. Funding for the site was secured by two general obligation bonds passed by voters in 2016 and 2018. It will be located on a vacant lot behind the Albuquerque Indian Center at Zuni and Texas.
Construction on the community is slated to begin in October.