Council Watch: The Council Approves

Mayor’s Budget Survives, Mostly Intact

Carolyn Carlson
5 min read
The Council Approves
Councilors Peña, Sanchez and Harris (Eric Williams Photography)
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Have you been asking yourself how the more than $1 billion dollars described in Mayor Keller’s budget will be spent by the City of Albuquerque in its fiscal year 2020 budget? Weekly Alibi was curious so we took a look at the over $1 billion budget that was approved by the Council at its May 20 meeting.

What Budget?

Spring in Burque brings unpredictable weather and city budget planning. Mayor Tim Keller
sent the City Council a $1.1 billion budget to consider, amend and approve. While the Council shifted about $3 million around a bit, it pretty much kept Keller’s proposed budget intact. This year’s wallet-busting budget will take effect on July 1 and is 11 percent higher than last year’s $997 million pot of money to keep the city rolling along. About 37 percent of the money comes from gross receipts tax. Property taxes generate about 14 percent of the bucks. The rest of the money comes from other taxes, fines, permits and other intergovernmental and enterprise funds.

Public Safety Priority

Public safety funding took center stage with just under 50 percent of the overall General Fund expenditures going to public safety. There is about $209 million allocated for the Albuquerque Police Department needs such as administrative, investigative, neighborhood policing (the Blues on the street), off-duty police overtime, vehicles, prisoner transport and professional accountability. This includes full funding to add another 100 officers to the ranks of the approximately 914 sworn officers currently on the streets. The City has a goal of 1,053 sworn officers working their beats. Another $1 million was set aside for police civilian oversight to keep the public’s watchdog eye focused. In 2018, the city implemented a three-eighths of a cent gross receipts tax to fund public safety.

Albuquerque Fire Rescue will get about $97 million for operations of various emergency medical services such as dispatch, emergency response and services, fire prevention, logistics and training. AFR will receive some well deserved bucks to expand the HEART or Home Engagement Alternative Response Team who do home checks on those who have a history of calling the emergency medical system for non-fatal emergencies. AFR responds to more than 100,000 medical calls a year which is about 85 percent of their total calls that also include fire calls. Another hot $1 million is tossed into the AFR pot of money from the State Fire Fund.

The Top Dogs

Looks like the city’s legal needs will take up $6.3 million. This is money to run the legal department along with contract legal services as well. This does not include settlement amounts. There is about $27 million set aside in Risk Management to pay settlements. Also within the legal budget is $412,000 in funding for the Office of Equity and Inclusion.

It will take $1.07 million to run the Mayor’s office and another $5 million to keep the Council at the governing table. The Office of Inspector General will get $505,000 in the next fiscal year. While the Office of Internal Audit and Investigations will have $976,000 to keep tabs on city’s fiduciary agents and funds. And the City Clerk will have a little more than $2.1 million to run that office.

Speaking of top dogs, the city’s Animal Welfare department will get about $12.4 million in funding for fiscal year 2020.

Fun Stuff

Almost $5.4 million will go to keeping the city’s class act public swimming pools. For those who prefer a walk, ride or run in the city’s bountiful open space, the budget will distribute $4.3 million to keep those in top shape. A nice $20 million is allocated for overall city park maintenance and about $15 million-plus for general recreation services. For all those channeling Tiger Woods, it will take $6.4 million to staff and upkeep the city’s challenging golf courses.

The BioPark will get about $17 million for operations and for some projects. The city’s museums will have $6.6 million to operate and several museum projects will get $187,000; about $13 million is set aside for library operations and special projects and $5 million for all those fun community events we all like to attend. Our world-renowned airport or Sunport will get almost $79 million for management, operations, maintenance and security. The Isotope’s baseball stadium will take $1.2 million to operate with another million going to debt service on the stadium.


At least $71 million will go towards keeping those reliable solid waste trucks and folks cruising the neighborhoods gathering up all the stuff that we don’t want anymore. The transit department which runs the city buses will get about $50 million—$2.4 million of that is budgeted to the failed Central Avenue Albuquerque Rapid Transit project. At least $20 million will go into our thousands of miles of streets and fund other street services, such as filling potholes. It will take at least $12 million to keep the lights and other utilities on at city buildings according to the Mayor’s budget.

Taking Care

Burqueños want to take care of their own, so built into the budget is almost $23 million for homelessness, substance abuse, mental health services, sexual assault, domestic violence and services or abused youth. The Westside Emergency Shelter will get about $8 million to operate year-round instead of just during the winter. Our young folks will get a cool million to fund 80,000 out of school and summer program slots. Another $13 million will go into health and human services, child and family services, educational initiatives and gang intervention. A total of about $79 million will be spent on all family and community services, which includes popular senior centers and community centers.

Money Magnets

At least $10 million will get pumped into economic development programs such as the Local Economic Development Act. Much of this money comes from the Lodgers’ Tax and Hospitality Fee funds and are set aside for tourism and economic development. Albuquerque had a good 2018 with Netflix, TaskUs, Topgolf and Carenet projects making investments in the metro area.

Send your comments about the City Council to

The next meetings of

The Albuquerque City Council:

Wednesday May 29, 5pm and Monday June 3, 5pm

Vincent E. Griego Chambers

Albuquerque Bernalillo County Government Center

1 Civic Plaza

View it on GOV TV 16 or at

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