On April 1, 2021, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and the Keller administration released the 2021-2022 Proposed Operating Budget for the fiscal year that will begin on July 1, 2021 and that will end June 31, 2022. As required by state law, the city budget is a balanced budget with no deficit spending allowed by law.
The city link to the budget is here:
The overall proposed budget is $1.2 billion, $711.5 million of which is the General Fund. The General Fund covers basic city services such as police protection, fire and rescue protection, the bus system, street maintenance, weekly solid waste pickup, all city park maintenance, city equipment, animal control, environmental health services, the legal department, risk management, and payroll and human resources. With 27 different departments, the city employs upwards of 6,400 full time employees to provide the essential services city wide. The $1.2 billion proposed budget is an increase of upwards of $105 million, or 9.5%, over the current levels. The general fund spending increases to $711.5 million, an increase of $39 million, or 5.8%, from present.
City Hall’s ability to boost spending by 9.5% is attributed in part to federal funding received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Instead of using normal city revenues, the city was allowed to pay certain personnel and other costs associated with dealing with the pandemic.
City Hall was also able to increase spending in part because of a hiring freeze to keep spending flat in 2021. There are currently upwards of 665 general fund-covered jobs vacant, which is approximately 14% of the city’s workforce.
The city relies upon a number of revenue sources to fund its annual budget. Those sources, and the percentage of the budget revenues they provide are as follows:
Gross Receipts Tax: 34.8%
Property Taxes: 14.0%
Other Taxes: 3.8%
Enterprise Fund Revenues: 11.9%
(Editor’s note: An “Enterprise Fund” is a city department operated with the revenues it generates, such as the Solid Waste Department and the Aviation Department.)
Charges, fines and permits: 4.1%
Interfund and Fund Balances: 25.3%
Miscellaneous Sources: 1.2%
The City of Albuquerque’s gross receipts tax (GRT) is 7.8750% and it is leveled on the sale of all goods and services in the city. GRT, the city’s Enterprise Fund revenues, and property taxes together make up 60.7% of the City’s total revenues. GRT is the City’s major source of revenue and is estimated at $421.9 million or 34.8% of total resources for FY/22. Property Tax comprises 14% of total revenue. The various enterprises operated by the City are estimated to generate 11.9% of total revenue in FY/22. Interfund transfers and the use of available fund balances make up the next category of revenue at 25.3%, while the other categories that include payments from other governmental entities, permits, fees, and other charges, comprise 14% of overall remaining City revenue.
Total operating resources for all funds is projected at $1.2 billion in FY/22. This is $105 million higher than the FY/21 original approved budget of $1.1 billion. The increase includes $34.7 million in Gross Receipts Tax (GRT), $11 million in property tax, $8.7 million in other taxes, $17.4 million in enterprise revenue, and $25.4 million in inter-fund and fund balance
DEPARTMENT BUDGETS TOTALS LISTED
The proposed budget contains a complete line-item budget for each and every city department. Following is each city department total proposed budgets with the percentage it represents of the total budget:
Albuquerque Community Safety: $7,730,000, 0.64% (New department as outlined below)
Animal Welfare: $14,006,000, 1.15%
Arts and Culture: $48,624,000, 4.01%
Aviation: $64,932,000, 5.35%
Chief Administrative Office: $2,188,000, 0.18%
City Support: $131,183,000, 10.82%
Civilian Police Oversight: $1,608,000, 0.13%
Council Services: $ 5,279,000 , 0.44%
Economic Development: $6,210,000, 0.51%
Environmental Health: $9,601,000, 0.79%
Family and Community Services: $89,769,000, 7.40%
Finance and Administrative Services: $70,434,000, 5.81%
Fire and Rescue: $101,326,000, 8.36%
Human Resources: $108,182,000, 8.92%
Legal: $8,518,000, 0.70%
Mayor’s Office: $1,120,000, 0.09%
Municipal Development: $81,109,000, 6.69%
Office of Internal Audit: $949,000, 0.08%
Office of Inspector General: $567,000, 0.05%
Office of the City Clerk: $2,885, 000, 0.24%
Parks and Recreation: $46,585,000, 3.84%
Planning: $15,930,000, 1.31%
Police: $227,696,000, 18.78%
Senior Affairs: $18,111,000, 1.49%
Solid Waste: $76,402,000, 6.30%
Technology and Innovation: $27,773,000, 2.29%
Transit: $43,980,000, 3.63%
Total Fiscal Year 2022 Budget: $1,212,697,000, 100.00%
Major highlights of the proposed budget include the following allocations:
A 2% cost-of-living pay raise for city employees.
$11 million in funding to buy Bernalillo County government out of its half of the Civic Plaza Government Center building and to renovate the 11-story structure. Bernalillo County sold its stake in the Government Center to the city for $5.55 million. Bernalillo County will be moving into its new $66.5 million headquarters located at 415 Silver SW.
$4 million for operational funding and programing for the Gateway Center homeless shelter. (More information provided below).
$3 million to support Local Economic Development Act projects.
$2 million for city vehicles.
$1.9 million for two Southwest Albuquerque spray pads, recreational areas for water play.
A $253,000 increase, or 18.7%, for the Civilian Police Oversight Agency (CPOA), including money for a new policy analyst.
$750,000 to expand a public animal spay and neuter program.
$350,000 for the Arts and Culture Department to implement an online ticketing system for its museums and the ABQ BioPark. The Arts and Culture Department was formerly known as Cultural Services Department.
$180,000 in recurring funding for Tingley Beach security guards.
The proposed Fiscal Year 2022 budget allocates $10 million in business support and economic relief programs. Highlights include:
$3 million investment in the Local Economic Development Act fund, which has helped the City retain and attract businesses like Netflix, NBC Universal, Los Poblanos, and Build With Robots.
$350,000 to support the City’s hosting of the USA Cycling National Championships, which will mark the return of national sporting events that we have attracted through our past successes like the Senior Olympics.
Full recurring funding for the Small Business Office, which has provided technical assistance to help local businesses access COVID relief programs, navigate permitting processes, and connect to resources for starting up and scaling up.
Investments to help businesses reopen and events come online again, including online ticketing systems.
Increase in permitting staff in the Planning Department to ensure that major new projects like Netflix and Orion can meet their construction and development schedules, without delaying their projects.
Full funding for the BankOn Albuquerque program, a partnership with financial institutions and the FDIC to help residents get banked and avoid costly payday loan and check cashing services.
The above programs are in addition to the $170 million in capital projects currently under construction and an additional $100 million in projects to be awarded before the end of the calendar year.
SOCIAL SERVICES AND PUBLIC HEALTH CARE
The City works extensively with the State and County to provide social services and housing to people who are medically vulnerable and/or homeless. To that end, the 2022 proposed budget includes the following line-item appropriations:
$4 million in recurring funding and $2 million in one-time funding for supportive housing programs in the City’s Housing First model.
$4.7 million net to operate the City’s first Gateway Center at the Gibson Medical Facility, including revenue and expenses for facility operation and program operations.
$24 million in Emergency Rental Assistance from the federal government, which the City will make available in partnership with the State.
$500 thousand to fund Albuquerque Street Connect, a program that focuses on people experiencing homelessness who use the most emergency services and care, to establish ongoing relationships that result in permanent supportive housing.
$214 thousand to staff the senior meal home delivery program, which has delivered over 390,000 meals to seniors since the pandemic started.
APD BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS
As has been the case for all past budgets submitted by the Keller Administration, public safety continues to be the number one priority of the proposed 2022 city budget. For that reason, the major aspects of APD’s Budget merits review.
The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) continues to be the largest budget department in the city. APD’s proposed budget of $227,696,000 is upwards of 31% of total general fund spending of $711,500,000. APD’s budget will be increased by 23.9% or $43.1 million above the 2021 fiscal budget which was $213 million.
Highlights of the APD proposed budget include:
Funding for 1,100 sworn positions and 592 civilian support positions for a total of 1,692 full-time positions. APD has 998 sworn officers after the March graduation of cadets from the APD academy. Last year’s budget also had funding for 1,100 officers, but APD has failed over the last 7 years to reach budgeted staffing levels.
$2.3 million in funding to annualize funding for 44 additional sworn officer positions added in FY/21.
$3.5 million for a 2% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), subject to negotiations for positions associated with a union, health benefits and insurance administration.
$1.6 million for a net increase of 20 full-time positions for two full-time positions for the communications services department, one operation review language access coordinator, one senior buyer, one office assistant to support the Southeast Area Command Station and one office assistant to support the Northeast Command Station. Three full-time positions to support the Real Time Crime Center and 11 investigator positions to support internal affairs and compliance with DOJ.
$1,100,000 million for seven full-time positions added intra-year FY/21 at a total cost of including benefits and reduction of $126 thousand in contractual services for a net cost of $931 thousand.
$800,000 for the Department of Justice Independent Federal Monitor required under the Court Approved Settlement Agreement that is still pending after 6 years.
$400,000 for the Use of Force Review contract,
$800,000 thousand for the maintenance agreement for the new CAD/RMS software.
$106,000 for the family advocacy center lease.
$2,000,000 one-time funding increase Risk Recovery, which represents funding to cover litigation.
$74,000 for the Crisis Intervention (CIT) ECHO project.
$90,000 designated for the student loan forgiveness program for APD Officers.
$986,000 thousand for electronic control weapons (TAZER weapons).
$90,000 thousand for the CNM Cadet Academy.
$50,000 for the drag racing tactical plans from FY/21.
Funding for the following new positions are included:
One senior advisor to the Mayor and CAO and one internal investigations manager were created.
One violence intervention data analyst and one violence intervention special projects manager were created to support the critical mission of reducing violent gun crime in the City.
One Superintendent of Police reform position created to provide guidance in reshaping the training, internal affairs and compliance with the Department of Justice and the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) reforms.
One Assistant City Attorney was created for APD.
NEW COMMUNITY SAFETY DEPARTMENT
In was in June of last year that Mayor Tim Keller announced the creation of the Albuquerque Community Safety Department (ACS). The new department as announced was to be responsible to send trained professionals to respond to certain calls for service in place of armed APD police officers or firefighters. It was to be an entirely new city department that was to be on equal footing with all the other 19 city departments, including APD and AFRD, that have hundreds of employees and separate functions, tasks, and services.
The ACS as originally presented by Mayor Keller was to have social workers, housing and homelessness specialists and violence prevention and diversion program experts. They were to be dispatched to homelessness and “down-and-out” calls as well as behavioral health crisis calls for service to APD. The new department envisioned will connect people in need with services to help address any underlying issues. The department personnel would be dispatched through the city’s 911 emergency call system. The intent is to free up the first responders, either police or firefighters, who typically have to deal with down-and-out and behavioral health calls.
During last year’s budget process, the Albuquerque City Council severely parred down the proposed new department. The new department as originally proposed by Keller was to have 192 employees, Keller cut it to 100 positions and then the City Council gutted it to 13 positions. The projected budget went from $10.9 Million as originally proposed by Keller then it was reduced to $7.5 Million, the City Council then slashed the budget further to $2.5 Million.
The 2022 proposed city budget provides for a Community Safety budget of $7.7 million with 61 total employees across a range of specialties in social work and counseling to provide behavioral health services.
GATEWAY CENTER HOMELESS SHELTER
On November 5, 2020 voters approved a general obligation bond package which included $14 million for a city operated 24-7 homeless shelter later named the Gateway Center. The 2022 proposed city budget includes operational funding of $4 million for programming for the new Gateway Center Homeless Shelter.
In January, 2021 the Keller Administration announced that it had finalized the purchased of the former Lovelace Hospital on Gibson for $15 million for the Gateway Center. The Loveless facility is a 529,000-square-foot building. The facility has a 201-bed capacity, but remodeling could likely increase capacity significantly. The current plan is to remodel the Lovelace Hospital to include a 150 to 175 standard shelter and include housing for 25 to 50 people who do not have homes and who are recovering from acute illness and injury.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
The City Council budget process is one of the very few times that the council can bore deep down into each of the city department budgets. All too often, Mayor’s and their political operatives view the City Council more of an annoyance as opposed to being a legitimate oversight function. All to often, it becomes a process of members of the City Council asking the Mayor and his top executives the main question “What is it in this budget do you not want us to know about?” or put it another way “What is it that you are hiding?”
The City Council will now review the budget and can make changes as it sees fit. The council will hold public hearings April 29 and May 6 and has scheduled to take a final budget vote on May 17 or May 26. The enacted budget takes effect July 1, 2021.
A link to a related blog article is here: