Thinking Out Of The Box Or Bus

With all this talk of the City Council wanting to raise our gross receipts taxes and the beginning public outcry opposing it, the City Council needs to start thinking out of the box.

City Councilors Trudy Jones and Ken Sanchez want to raise the gross receipts tax that will generate $55 million a year to help pay for the $40 million projected deficit as well as hire more cops and dedicate money to public safety.

Police Union President Shawn Willoughby wants the City Council to guarantee at least 60% of the new revenue be given to APD to help recruitment and give his membership raises.

“Public Safety” represents 29% of a $529.6 million general fund budget appropriations for the City of Albuquerque, and includes the Albuquerque Police Department and the Fire Department.

The Albuquerque Police Department’s (APD) Annual budget is $171.8 million.

APD employs 1,484 full time employees.

The Albuquerque Fire Department (AFD) employs 699 full time employees.

The Albuquerque Police Department had a general fund budget of $171.8 million approved for the 2017-2018 fiscal year which included an increase by $7 million or a 4.2% increase for the Department.

The Albuquerque Fire Department (AFD) annual budget is $75.5 million.

The Fire Department budget had a decrease of 1.6% or $1.2 million below the FY/17 original budget.

It turns out that the City is also facing a $75 million shortfall to pay for the ART Bus prject if the federal grant money is not forthcoming.

The ART Bus project construction is almost complete and the bill must be paid.

Six more brand new ART buses have been delivered but the administration has no idea when the ART Bus project will be completed nor when the buses will be used, but the buses still must be paid for to the tune of $22 million.

What the City owes on the ART Bus project could almost pay for a full year’s budget for the Fire Department.

It’s time for the city council to think out of the bus when dealing with the city’s financial crises and the projected deficits.

Perhaps our Firefighters could use the ART Buses to go to emergency calls for service using the ART Busses as a means of saving money.

The city could also install extension ladders bought at COSTCO on the tops of the buses and convert them to ladder units to deal with high rise fires.

Hell, the city could even convert the ART Buses to APD Breathalyzer Test stations or portable APD area command stations for use by our police officers.

Maybe the City Council could replace Shawn Willoughby’s patrol car with an ART Bus and put him in charge of police recruitment and send him around the country finding qualified people to become police officers, at least that way the City Administration would get him out of town and out of the papers and off the TV and allow them to do their jobs without police union interference.

APD’s slogan is “to serve and protect” while the police union slogan is “what’s in your wallet”.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.